Which brain structure factors may have a role in the pathophysiology of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)?

Updated: Jun 20, 2018
  • Author: Gaurav Gupta, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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In addition to functional CNS sensitization, recent investigations have explored the possibility that the brain of those with CRPS may differ structurally from brains of those without CRPS. Studies of small numbers of patients from various authors suggest that patients with CRPS may have, for example, diminished thickness of the prefrontal cortex [21]  or diminished gray matter volume in certain regions related to pain perception but greater gray matter volume in other regions. [22]  Another group found evidence that the choroid plexus is enlarged in CRPS. [23]   More recently, van Velzen et al. studied 19 of their own patients and conducted a review of the existing literature. They failed to find any specific differences in the structure of function of the brain in CRPS patients and they also concluded that prior results in the literature were inconsistent with regard to the location and amount of the supposed changes as well as in the direction of the changes. [24] At present, the idea that structural brain changes may underly CRPS remains intriguing but inconclusive.

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