May 9, 2014 – Researchers from the British North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research at Bangor University recently reported that a spinal surgical procedure offers malignant pleural mesothelioma patients temporary, yet highly effective pain relief. Researchers used 14 databases that studied a total of 160 mesothelioma patients who underwent a cordotomy, which is a surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia using a needle to disable pain receptors in the spinal column. After careful review of all information, researchers concluded that the cordotomy offered significant pain relief. While minor side effects such as temporary headaches, pain, and motor weakness were reported, there were no reports of respiratory distress or loss of life relating to the procedure.
Pleural mesothelioma patients often report severe pain in the end stages of the disease. These patients are routinely offered heavy narcotics to relieve their pain, but the side effects of these narcotics can severely impact a patient’s quality of life. The cordotomy offers the patient an opportunity to relieve their pain without the sedative and cognitive side effects of narcotics.
While the results of the study are promising, more research needs to be done to validate the data. British researchers are attempting to establish a national registry in the United Kingdom to track the outcomes of cordotomy patients.
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