AbstractOBJECTIVE:To document the value of bilateral anterior cingulotomy for patients with intractable chronic noncancer pain.METHODS:Twenty-three patients who underwent 28 cingulotomies between 1979 and 1996 for chronic refractory pain were sent questionnaires regarding their subjective response to the surgery and its impact on their pain. Questions dealt with pre-and postoperative pain, ability to resume work or usual activity, medications, family and social interactions, and overall benefit of cingulotomy. Results were compared with long-term (average, 8 yr) clinical follow-up. In 13 patients, pain was predominantly caused by lumbar adhesive arachnoiditis or “failed back.” The remainder had venous occlusive disease, ischemic bilateral leg pain, phantom leg pain, postoperative neck pain, or atypical facial painRESULTS:Eighteen patients returned questionnaires; two patients died of unrelated causes. Seventy-two percent of patients reported improvement in their pain, 55% were no longer taking narcotics, 67% noted improvement in their family life, and 72% noted improvement in their social interactions. Fifty-six percent of patients reported that the cingulotomy was beneficial, and 28% returned to their usual activities or work. Thirty-nine percent of patients developed transient or well-controlled seizures. Five patients required a second cingulotomy, and one patient did well despite developing brain abscesses. Patient assessments corresponded closely with clinical assessmentsCONCLUSION:Bilateral anterior cingulotomy is safe for patients with refractory chronic pain. Seizures reported in this series were well controlled with medication. More than half of all respondents thought they had a positive outcome and that cingulotomy was beneficial to them. There were no deaths related to the procedure.
Neurosurgery – Oxford University Press
Published: Nov 1, 1999
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