Nerve decompression for complex regional pain syndrome type II following upper extremity surgery

Jeffrey D. Placzek, Martin I. Boyer, Richard H. Gelberman, Barbara Sopp, Charles A. Goldfarb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

To evaluate the results of nerve decompression for the symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome that developed after upper-extremity surgery. Eight patients (5 men, 3 women) developed worsening severe pain, swelling, and loss of range of motion after an upper-extremity surgery. The diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome was made at an average of 6 weeks (range, 1-10 weeks) after the surgical procedure. A clinical diagnosis of either median or combined median and ulnar nerve compression at the wrist was confirmed in all patients with electrophysiologic testing. Nerve decompression was performed at a mean of 13 weeks after the procedure. Subjective (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire; visual analog pain scale) and objective (forearm, wrist, and finger range of motion; grip strength) data from before and after nerve decompression were reviewed. The average score on the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire decreased from 71 to 30 (p <. 05). The mean visual analog pain score decreased from 7.5 to 1.8. (p <. 05) There was immediate and near-complete resolution of all somatic complaints including hypersensitivity to touch, hyperhydrosis, swelling, and cold sensitivity. Range of motion and grip strength improved. Traditionally surgical treatment has been avoided in patients with complex regional pain syndrome; however, in the setting of clinical and electrophysiologic evidence of nerve compression surgical intervention may hasten recovery in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2005

Keywords

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • complex regional pain syndrome
  • nerve decompression
  • reflex sympathetic dystrophy

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