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J Neurol Sci. 1997 Sep 10;150(2):149-52.

Long-term outcome following sympathectomy for complex regional pain syndrome type 1 (RSD).

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


We performed a retrospective study of 29 patients with CRPS1 (RSD) who were initially examined between 1983 and 1993, and had either transthoracic (lower third of stellate ganglia to T3) or lumbar (L2-L4) sympathectomy. The patients were followed from 24 to 108 months after surgery. Patients with unsuccessful surgical outcomes had significantly longer duration of symptoms before surgery (median, 36 months) than those with successful outcomes (median, 16 months) by Wilcoxon rank sum test (chi2=8.69, df=1, P<0.01). All seven patients (100%) who had sympathectomy within 12 months of injury, nine of 13 patients (69.2%) who had sympathectomy within 24 months of injury, and only four of nine patients (44.4%) who had sympathectomy after 24 months of injury obtained permanent (greater than 24 months) symptom relief. Patient age, sex, occupation, site of injury, type of injury, presence of trophic changes, and duration of follow-up were not significantly related (P>0.05) to surgical outcome.

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