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December 1971

Subarachnoid Cold Saline Wash For Pain Relief

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Neurosurgery, New York University Medical School.

Arch Surg. 1971;103(6):672-675. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1971.01350120032005

Thirty-seven patients with intractable pain underwent cold saline wash; 33 had lumbar cold saline wash and four had cervical cold saline wash. Of the 33 patients who had lumbar cold saline wash, pain was due to neoplasms in 17 and to benign conditions in 16. Pain relief was obtained for several days in some patients and for two to four months in others. The effectiveness of cold saline wash was greater in patients with neoplastic disease than in patients with benign conditions. Of the four treated with high cervical cold saline wash, two had no pain relief after several days and two had relief for 1 and 2 months, respectively. Although the mechanism of pain relief by cold saline wash is obscure and its duration relatively short, the low complication rate warrants further study and clinical evaluation.