Which histologic findings are characteristic of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)?

Updated: Mar 06, 2018
  • Author: W Alvin McElveen, MD; Chief Editor: Robert A Egan, MD  more...
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Although HZ symptoms may be confined to a few sensory dermatomes, pathological changes may be more widespread. Affected ganglia of the spinal or cranial nerve roots are swollen and inflamed with a primarily lymphocytic reaction. Some ganglion cells are swollen while others are degenerated.

Inflammation extends into the meninges and root entry zone and may be present in the ventral horn and perivascular space of the spinal cord. Pathological changes in the brain stem are similar to those in the spinal root and spinal cord. In the months following infection, fibrosis occurs in the ganglia, peripheral nerve, and nerve root. Degeneration occurs in the ipsilateral posterior column.

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