Bilateral CT-guided percutaneous cordotomy for cancer pain relief

Clin Radiol. 2003 Nov;58(11):886-9. doi: 10.1016/s0009-9260(03)00266-6.


Aim: CT-guided percutaneous cordotomy is a useful procedure for treating unilateral cancer pain, however, bilateral cordotomy can be required on some occasions. We evaluated the effectiveness and complications of bilateral cordotomy.

Materials and methods: Two hundred and thirty-four patients who suffered from unilateral cancer pain underwent CT-guided percutaneous cordotomy. The procedure was repeated in 22 patients, and nine patients had bilateral cordotomy. Effectiveness and complications were recorded after each procedure.

Results: Of nine patents (three women and six men) having bilateral percutaneous cordotomy in our study, four patients had mirror pain after the first procedure. In the remaining five patients the contralateral pain was due to new pain sites. The pain scores before and after the first procedure were 9.3 (range 7-10) and 1.2 (range 0-3), respectively. After the first procedure complete or satisfactory pain relief was achieved in all patients. The duration between the two procedures ranged from 7-243 days (mean 59.8 days). The pain scores before and after the second procedure were 8.4 (range 5-10) and 1.6 (range 0-4), respectively. After the second procedure complete or satisfactory pain relief was reported in all patients. There were no complications in four patients. One patient developed transient motor deficit after the first procedure. Other complications (nausea/vomiting, headache, ipsilateral neck pain, postcordotomy dysesthesia) were mild and transient.

Conclusion: CT-guided percutaneous cordotomy is a useful procedure for the treatment of severe unilateral cancer pain syndromes. The procedure can be repeated on the other side at least 1 week later. These results show that the success on the second side appears to be similar to the first side with low complication rate for both procedures.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cordotomy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Pain / surgery*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Radiography, Interventional / methods*
  • Reoperation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome