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Targeting Gray Rami Communicantes in Selective Chemical Lumbar Sympathectomy

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Targeting Gray Rami Communicantes in Selective Chemical Lumbar Sympathectomy

Wen-Hui Wang et al. J Vis Exp.

Abstract

Chemical lumbar sympathectomy (CLS) is a commonly used, minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of conditions including ischemic diseases of the lower extremities, hyperhidrosis, etc. It is commonly practiced to position the puncture needle tip in front of the anterior fascia of the psoas major muscle and inject the inactivating agent around the sympathetic trunk, which is defined as conventional CLS. Although relatively rare, ureteropelvic damage is the most frequently reported complication of conventional CLS and can cause serious harm to patients. We found that injecting the inactivating agent behind the anterior fascia, which only targets gray rami communicantes, helped achieve therapeutic efficacy in vasodilation, sweat reduction, and pain relief comparable to conventional CLS, and serious complications were largely reduced. We define this procedure as selective CLS. Here, we present a protocol of selective CLS. The precise needle tract and accurate evaluation of the spreading of the contrast agent are critical to ensure that the drug is injected behind the anterior fascia of the psoas major muscle. The needle tip is at approximately one-third the dividing line of the vertebral body in the lateral view of a lumbar X-ray. The contrast is mainly confined around the needle tip and spreads outward and downward along the psoas muscle fibers. In this way, the anterior fascia provides a natural barrier for the ureteropelvic area, and the psoas major muscle provides a natural barrier for the lumbar nerve root. There are several highlights of this article, including 1) a detailed description of the selective CLS procedures, 2) an explanation of the anatomical basis for the implementation of selective CLS, and 3) an explanation of the differences between selective and conventional CLS.

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