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May 1966

Cordotomy for Pain Following Cauda Equina Injury

Author Affiliations

From the Spinal Cord Injury Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, Long Beach, and the Department of Surgery, University of California Center for Health Sciences, Los Angeles.

Arch Surg. 1966;92(5):765-770. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1966.01320230113021

PAIN in the lower extremities is a complication which may develop after partial or complete traumatic lesions of the cauda equina. Although a large percentage of paraplegics experience discomfort of some kind below their level of injury, in relatively few does the pain become so incapacitating that it cannot be controlled by medical measures. In the current series of 637 patients with lower motor neuron lesions treated at the Long Beach Veteran's Administration Hospital, 41 have had surgical treatment for uncontrollable pain. Of these, 34 have been subjected to one or more cordotomies and their progress followed for periods ranging from 8 to 20 years. The long-term results of this group form the basis of this report.

Clinical Material and Procedures  A total of 47 cordotomies (lateral spinothalamic tractotomy) were performed in this group of 34 male patients with cauda equina injury, ranging in age from 20 to 49 years

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