The chronic pain syndrome encompassed by the term RSD is poorly understood. The confusion is caused in large part by frequent misdiagnosis and excessive use of sympatholytic procedures in inappropriate circumstances. Recently, pain specialists have redefined the specific criteria for regional pain syndromes having sympathetic maintaining factors, emphasizing application of placebo testing in diagnosis and attention to anatomic principles in pharmacologic and surgical treatment. The authors believe that three-phase bone scanning is a valuable adjunct to clinical judgment in making the proper diagnosis. Current thinking suggests that sympathetic maintained pain exists but that it may comprise only approximately 10% of regional pain cases. Once the appropriate diagnosis is made, classically described sympatholytic procedures are reasonably used. Alternative techniques, such as spinal cord stimulation may have an important role in refractory caes of sympathetically maintained pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-446
Number of pages12
JournalClinics in Plastic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


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