What is the role of upper thoracic or lumbar sympathectomy in the treatment of complex regional pain syndrome type 1 (CRPS 1) (RSD)?

Updated: Sep 09, 2018
  • Author: T P Sudha Rao, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Consider surgical sympathectomy if the relief achieved with sympathetic blockade and anti-inflammatory therapy has not permanently resolved the CRPS and relapse has occurred despite continuing treatment. These procedures are reserved for patients who have had an initial response to sympathetic blockade and are thus likely have a sympathetically mediated process. Choose sympathectomy early in the course of disease because once joint fibrosis develops, minimal functional improvement occurs. Pain relief, however, remains significant in late disease.


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