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Anesth Analg. 1989 Jul;69(1):81-2.

Poststernotomy neuralgia: a new pain syndrome.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Alabama, Birmingham.


Fifty-four patients developed severe intercostal neuralgia a few weeks after sternotomy. Immediate relief afforded by parasternal nerve blocks confirmed that the pain derived from scar-entrapped neuromas of the anterior rami of the first 4-6 intercostal nerves in the upper (and mainly left) interchondral spaces after insertion of the sternal wires. Permanent relief (i.e., over 6 months) followed repeated bupivacaine blocks in 57.4% of the patients, phenol blocks in another 22.2%, and alcohol blocks in a remaining 9%. Treatment was successful in 87% of the patients.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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