BACKGROUND: Over 50% of patients presenting to pain clinic with neck pain have the cervical facet joints as the source of pain. Radiofrequency (RF) treatment of the medial branch, innervating the facet joint, is a therapeutic option. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the therapeutic effect and its duration of RF treatment, using the single posterior-lateral approach in patients suffering from facet joint degeneration and to identify predictors for a long-term effect. METHODS: Of the 130 consecutive patients with axial neck pain referred to the University Pain Center Maastricht, 67 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The therapeutic effect was measured using the Patients Global Impression of Change (PGIC) scale. Retrospective data were made complete using newly collected PGIC follow-up data. A Kaplan-Meier curve evaluated the long-term therapeutic effect. Possible predictors of outcome were evaluated. RESULTS: Two patients refused to participate and in the remaining 65 patients, overall pain relief was reported in 55.4% at 2-month follow-up. Moderately, important change of improvement and substantial change of improvement were seen in 50.8% of patients. At 3-year follow-up, 30% still reported pain reduction. Spinal treatment level was the only predictor found. CONCLUSIONS: Radiofrequency treatment of the cervical facet joints using a single posterior-lateral approach is a promising technique in patients with chronic neck pain due to facet degeneration. The short-term and long-term therapeutic effects of this intervention justify a randomized controlled trial to estimate the efficacy of cervical facet joint RF treatment in a chronic neck pain population.
The aim was (i) to evaluate the accuracy of equilibrium-phase high spatial resolution (EP) contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE-MRA) at 1.5T using a blood pool contrast agent for the preoperative evaluation of deep inferior epigastric artery perforator branches (DIEP), and (ii) to compare image quality with conventional first-pass CE-MRA.
Pain in patients with cancer can be refractory to pharmacological treatment or intolerable side effects of pharmacological treatment may seriously disturb patients quality of life. Specific interventional pain management techniques can be an effective alternative for those patients. The appropriate application of these interventional techniques provides better pain control, allows the reduction of analgesics and hence improves quality of life. Until recently, the majority of these techniques are considered to be a fourth consecutive step following the World Health Organizations pain treatment ladder. However, in cancer patients, earlier application of interventional pain management techniques can be recommended even before considering the use of strong opioids. Epidural and intrathecal medication administration allow the reduction of the daily oral or transdermal opioid dose, while maintaining or even improving the pain relief and reducing the side effects. Cervical cordotomy may be considered for patients suffering with unilateral pain at the level below the dermatome C5. This technique should only be applied in patients with a life expectancy of less than 1 year. Plexus coeliacus block or nervus splanchnicus block are recommended for the management of upper abdominal pain due to cancer. Pelvic pain due to cancer can be managed with plexus hypogastricus block and the saddle or lower end block may be a last resort for patients suffering with perineal pain. Back pain due to vertebral compression fractures with or without pathological tumor invasion may be managed with percutaneous vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty. All these interventional techniques should be a part of multidisciplinary patient program.
Chronic pancreatitis is defined as a progressive inflammatory response of the pancreas that has lead to irreversible morphological changes of the parenchyma (fibrosis, loss of acini and islets of Langerhans, and formation of pancreatic stones) as well as of the pancreatic duct (stenosis and pancreatic stones). Pain is one of the most important symptoms of chronic pancreatitis. The pathogenesis of this pain can only partly be explained and it is therefore often difficult to treat this symptom. The management of pain induced by chronic pancreatitis starts with lifestyle changes and analgesics. For the pharmacological management, the three-step ladder of the World Health Organization extended with the use of co-analgesics is followed. Interventional pain management may consist of radiofrequency treatment of the nervi splanchnici, spinal cord stimulation, endoscopic stenting or stone extraction possibly in combination with lithotripsy, and surgery. To date, there are no randomized controlled trials supporting the efficacy of radiofrequency and spinal cord stimulation. The large published series reports justify a recommendation to consider these treatment options. Radiofrequency treatment, being less invasive than spinal cord stimulation, could be tested prior to considering spinal cord stimulation. There are several other treatment possibilities such as endoscopic or surgical treatment, pancreatic enzyme supplementation and administration of octreotide and antioxidants. All may have a role in the management of pain induced by chronic pancreatitis.
Meralgia paresthetica (MP) is a neurological disorder of the nervus cutaneous femoris lateralis (lateral femoral cutaneous nerve) (LFCN) characterized by a localized area of paresthesia and numbness on the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. Medical history and neurological examination are essential in making the diagnosis. However, red flags such as tumor and lumbar disc herniations must be ruled out. While the diagnosis of MP is essentially a clinical diagnosis, sensory nerve conduction velocity studies are a useful additional diagnostic tool.The first choice in management of MP is, besides treating the underlying cause, always a conservative approach. Simple measures such as losing weight and not wearing tight belts and ? or trousers can be advised. Pharmacological therapy consists mainly of antineuropathic medication.Anatomical variants of the LFCN occur in a quarter of patients and may be the reason for negative response to diagnostic blocks. For interventional treatment of MP, such as local injection with anesthetics and corticosteroids or pulsed radiofrequency treatment of the LFCN, the evidence is limited. In particular, pulsed radiofrequency treatment of the LFCN should only take place in a study context.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common disorder. In the majority of cases, patients with CTS can be diagnosed by means of appropriate history taking. Nerve conduction examination of the nervus medianus is the most important additional diagnostic test and is the best predictor of symptom severity and functional status in idiopathic CTS. Treatment option depends on the severity of the symptoms and the degree of functional daily limitations. If few limitations are present, splinting or corticosteroid injections are preferred. Surgical interventions are reserved for the more severe conditions resulting in significant disability.Interventional pain treatment such as pulsed radio frequency could be an addition to the future treatment options for CTS.
Although the existence of a "facet syndrome" had long been questioned, it is now generally accepted as a clinical entity. Depending on the diagnostic criteria, the zygapophysial joints account for between 5% and 15% of cases of chronic, axial low back pain. Most commonly, facetogenic pain is the result of repetitive stress and/or cumulative low-level trauma, leading to inflammation and stretching of the joint capsule. The most frequent complaint is axial low back pain with referred pain perceived in the flank, hip, and thigh. No physical examination findings are pathognomonic for diagnosis. The strongest indicator for lumbar facet pain is pain reduction after anesthetic blocks of the rami mediales (medial branches) of the rami dorsales that innervate the facet joints. Because false-positive and, possibly, false-negative results may occur, results must be interpreted carefully. In patients with injection-confirmed zygapophysial joint pain, procedural interventions can be undertaken in the context of a multidisciplinary, multimodal treatment regimen that includes pharmacotherapy, physical therapy and regular exercise, and, if indicated, psychotherapy. Currently, the "gold standard" for treating facetogenic pain is radiofrequency treatment (1 B+). The evidence supporting intra-articular corticosteroids is limited; hence, this should be reserved for those individuals who do not respond to radiofrequency treatment (2 B±).
The sacroiliac joint accounts for approximately 16% to 30% of cases of chronic mechanical low back pain. Pain originating in the sacroiliac joint is predominantly perceived in the gluteal region, although pain is often referred into the lower and upper lumbar region, groin, abdomen, and/ or lower limb(s). Because sacroiliac joint pain is difficult to distinguish from other forms of low back pain based on history, different provocative maneuvers have been advocated. Individually, they have weak predictive value, but combined batteries of tests can help ascertain a diagnosis. Radiological imaging is important to exclude "red flags" but contributes little in the diagnosis. Diagnostic blocks are the diagnostic gold standard but must be interpreted with caution, because false-positive as well as false-negative results occur frequently. Treatment of sacroiliac joint pain is best performed in the context of a multidisciplinary approach. Conservative treatments address the underlying causes (posture and gait disturbances) and consist of exercise therapy and manipulation. Intra-articular sacroiliac joint infiltrations with local anesthetic and corticosteroids hold the highest evidence rating (1 B+). If the latter fail or produce only short-term effects, cooled radiofrequency treatment of the lateral branches of S1 to S3 (S4) is recommended (2 B+) if available. When this procedure cannot be used, (pulsed) radiofrequency procedures targeted at L5 dorsal ramus and lateral branches of S1 to S3 may be considered (2 C+).
The goal of this study was to investigate,with magnetic resonance imaging, the human anatomic positions of the spinal canal (eg, spinal cord, thecal tissue) in various postures and identify possible implications from different patient positioning for neuraxial anesthetic practice.
Lumbosacral radicular pain is characterized by a radiating pain in one or more lumbar or sacral dermatomes; it may or may not be accompanied by other radicular irritation symptoms and/or symptoms of decreased function. The annual prevalence in the general population, described as low back pain with leg pain traveling below the knee, varied from 9.9% to 25%, which means that it is presumably the most commonly occurring form of neuropathic pain. The patients history may give a suggestion of lumbosacral radicular pain. The best known clinical investigation is the straight-leg raising test. Final diagnosis is made based on a combination of clinical examination and potentially additional tests. Medical imaging studies are indicated to exclude possible serious pathologies and to confirm the affected level in patients suffering lumbosacral radicular pain for longer than 3 months. Magnetic resonance imaging is preferred. Selective diagnostic blocks help confirming the affected level. There is controversy concerning the effectiveness of conservative management (physical therapy, exercise) and pharmacological treatment. When conservative treatment fails, in subacute lumbosacral radicular pain under the level L3 as the result of a contained herniation, transforaminal corticosteroid administration is recommended (2 B+). In chronic lumbosacral radicular pain, (pulsed) radiofrequency treatment adjacent to the spinal ganglion (DRG) can be considered (2 C+). For refractory lumbosacral radicular pain, adhesiolysis and epiduroscopy can be considered (2 B+/-), preferentially study-related. In patients with a therapy-resistant radicular pain in the context of a Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, spinal cord stimulation is recommended (2 A+). This treatment should be performed in specialized centers.
Approximately 5% of the patients referred to outpatient pain clinics suffer thoracic pain. Thoracic pain in this article is limited to thoracic radicular pain and pain originating from the thoracic facet joints. Thoracic radicular pain is characterized by radiating pain in the localized area of a nervus intercostalis. The diagnosis of thoracic facet pain should be considered if the patient complains of paravertebral pain that is aggravated by prolonged standing, hyperextension, or rotation of the thoracic spinal column. Based on the analyses of the results in the literature combined with experience in pain management, symptoms, assessment, differential diagnosis, and treatment possibilities of thoracic radicular pain and thoracic facet pain are described and discussed. Conservative treatment consists of medications according to the World Health Organization pain ladder. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is an option. Physical therapy is usually applied in the form of manual therapy. Interventional treatment may be considered when conservative treatment fails. For thoracic radicular pain, the available evidence on efficacy and safety supports recommendation (2 C+) of pulsed radiofrequency treatment of the ganglion spinale (DRG). If this treatment has a short-lasting effect and the pain is segmental, then radiofrequency treatment of the ganglion spinale (DRG) can be performed. Recommendation (2 C+) is applicable. However, extensive skills are required to perform this procedure above the level of Th7. This treatment should take place in specialized centers. For thoracic facet pain, radiofrequency treatment of the ramus medialis of the thoracic rami dorsales is recommended (2 C+).
Painful shoulder complaints have a high incidence and prevalence. The etiology is not always clear. Clinical history and the active and passive motion examination of the shoulder are the cornerstones of the diagnostic process. Three shoulder tests are important for the examination of shoulder complaints: shoulder abduction, shoulder external rotation, and horizontal shoulder adduction. These tests can guide the examiner to the correct diagnosis. Based on this diagnosis, in most cases, primarily a conservative treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs possibly in combination with manual and/or exercise therapy can be started. When conservative treatment fails, injection with local anesthetics and corticosteroids can be considered. In the case of frozen shoulder, a continuous cervical epidural infusion of local anesthetic and small doses of opioids or a pulsed radiofrequency treatment of the nervus suprascapularis can be considered.
Occipital neuralgia is defined as a paroxysmal shooting or stabbing pain in the dermatomes of the nervus occipitalis major and/or nervus occipitalis minor. The pain originates in the suboccipital region and radiates over the vertex. A suggestive history and clinical examination with short-term pain relief after infiltration with local anesthetic confirm the diagnosis. No data are available about the prevalence or incidence of this condition. Most often, trauma or irritation of the nervi occipitales causes the neuralgia. Imaging studies are necessary to exclude underlying pathological conditions. Initial therapy consists of a single infiltration of the culprit nervi occipitales with local anesthetic and corticosteroids (2 C+). The reported effects of botulinum toxin A injections are contradictory (2 C+/-). Should injection of local anesthetic and corticosteroids fail to provide lasting relief, pulsed radio-frequency treatment of the nervi occipitales can be considered (2 C+). There is no evidence to support pulsed radio-frequency treatment of the ganglion spinale C2 (dorsal root ganglion). As such, this should only be done in a clinical trial setting. Subcutaneous occipital nerve stimulation can be considered if prior therapy with corticosteroid infiltration or pulsed radio-frequency treatment failed or provided only short-term relief (2 C+).
More than 50% of patients presenting to a pain clinic with neck pain may suffer from facet-related pain. The most common symptom is unilateral pain without radiation to the arm. Rotation and retroflexion are frequently painful or limited. The history should exclude risk factors for serious underlying pathology (red flags). Radiculopathy may be excluded with neurologic testing. Direct correlation between degenerative changes observed with plain radiography, computerized tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging and pain has not been proven. Conservative treatment options for cervical facet pain such as physiotherapy, manipulation, and mobilization, although supported by little evidence, are frequently applied before considering interventional treatments. Interventional pain management techniques, including intra-articular steroid injections, medial branch blocks, and radiofrequency treatment, may be considered (0). At present, there is no evidence to support cervical intra-articular corticosteroid injection. When applied, this should be done in the context of a study. Therapeutic repetitive medial branch blocks, with or without corticosteroid added to the local anesthetic, result in a comparable short-term pain relief (2 B+). Radiofrequency treatment of the ramus medialis of the cervical ramus dorsalis (facet) may be considered. The evidence to support its use in the management of degenerative cervical facet joint pain is derived from observational studies (2 C+).
In total knee arthroplasty, tissue-sparing techniques are considered more important, as functional gain could become more advantageous when early mobilization is commenced. The parapatellar approach is most often used, whereas the subvastus approach is a suitable alternative. Presently, it is unknown, according to true objective measurements, which of the two is most advantageous.
Cluster headache is a strictly unilateral headache that is associated with ipsilateral cranial autonomic symptoms and usually has a circadian and circannual pattern. Prevalence is estimated at 0.5 to 1.0/1,000. The diagnosis of cluster headache is made based on the patients case history. There are two main clinical patterns of cluster headache: the episodic and the chronic. Episodic is the most common pattern of cluster headache. It occurs in periods lasting 7 days to 1 year and is separated by at least a 1-month pain-free interval. The attacks in the chronic form occur for more than 1 year without remission periods or with remission periods lasting less than 1 month. Conservative therapy consists of abortive and preventative remedies. Ergotamines and sumatriptan injections, sublingual ergotamine tartrate administration, and oxygen inhalation are effective abortive therapies. Verapamil is an effective and the safest prophylactic remedy. When pharmacological and oxygen therapies fail, interventional pain treatment may be considered. The effectiveness of radiofrequency treatment of the ganglion pterygopalatinum and of occipital nerve stimulation is only evaluated in observational studies, resulting in a 2 C+ recommendation. In conclusion, the primary treatment is medication. Radiofrequency treatment of the ganglion pterygopalatinum should be considered in patients who are resistant to conservative pain therapy. In patients with cluster headache refractory to all other treatments, occipital nerve stimulation may be considered, preferably within the context of a clinical study.
Cervical radicular pain is defined as pain perceived as arising in the arm caused by irritation of a cervical spinal nerve or its roots. Approximately 1 person in 1,000 suffers from cervical radicular pain. In the absence of a gold standard, the diagnosis is based on a combination of history, clinical examination, and (potentially) complementary examination. Medical imaging may show abnormalities, but those findings may not correlate with the patients pain. Electrophysiologic testing may be requested when nerve damage is suspected but will not provide quantitative/qualitative information about the pain. The presumed causative level may be confirmed by means of selective diagnostic blocks. Conservative treatment typically consists of medication and physical therapy. There are no studies assessing the effectiveness of different types of medication specifically in patients suffering cervical radicular pain. Cochrane reviews did not find sufficient proof of efficacy for either education or cervical traction. When conservative treatment fails, interventional treatment may be considered. For subacute cervical radicular pain, the available evidence on efficacy and safety supports a recommendation (2B+) of interlaminar cervical epidural corticosteroid administration. A recent negative randomized controlled trial of transforaminal cervical epidural corticosteroid administration, coupled with an increasing number of reports of serious adverse events, warrants a negative recommendation (2B-). Pulsed radiofrequency treatment adjacent to the cervical dorsal root ganglion is a recommended treatment for chronic cervical radicular pain (1B+). When its effect is insufficient or of short duration, conventional radiofrequency treatment is recommended (2B+). In selected patients with cervical radicular pain, refractory to other treatment options, spinal cord stimulation may be considered. This treatment should be performed in specialized centers, preferentially study related.
Anatomical validation studies of cervical ultrasound images are sparse. Validation is crucial to ensure accurate interpretation of cervical ultrasound images and to develop standardized reliable ultrasound procedures to identify cervical anatomical structures. The aim of this study was to acquire validated ultrasound images of cervical bony structures and to develop a reliable method to detect and count the cervical segmental levels.
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