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Korean J Anesthesiol. 1999 Aug;37(2):335-340. Korean. Case Report.
Shin KM , Jeong ET , Hong SY .
Department of Anesthesiology, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Kangwon, Korea.
Abstract

Effective noninvasive modalities such as radiotherapy and pharmacologic treatments have become highly developed in the treatment of intractable cancer pain. Although epidural narcotics have been considered particularly useful, limitations still remain in their effectiveness for some patients. Surgical therapy can be a useful alternative to these treatments. Cordotomy is one of the most effective surgical treatments. The first percutaneous cordotomy was attempted by Mullan and his associates in 1963. Rosomoff and his associates modified the procedure using radiofrequency two years later. Cordotomy was widely used by the late 1960's but due to its limited effectiveness and serious complications it was abandoned until 1980 when a new electrode was developed by Levin. A thermocouple cordotomy electrode such as the Levin electrode allows monitoring of impedance and tissue temperature. A radiofrequency lesion can be made by increasing the current directly to the desired temperature rather than by gradual heating with the usual incremental increases in lesion current and time. With the use of this electrode, consistent clinical effects are assured and operating time is reduced. The chances of boiling or charring are also minimized. Since this electrode was developed, cordotomy has received renewed attention virtually everywhere except in Korea. Five terminal cancer patients in whom conservative treatments had failed were treated by cordotomy using the three types of thermocouple electrodes: the levin cordotomy electrode; the TCE thermocouple electrode, and the Kanpolat CT electrode. Due to the small number of patients, a comparison of the effectiveness of these three types could not be made. Although complete pain relief was not achieved in every case, dosages of narcotics could be reduced as a result of this procedure. There were no serious complications except a transient paralysis of the ipsilateral arm in one case and headaches in four cases.

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