Four-decade maintenance of analgesia with percutaneous cordotomy

Kelly L. Collins, James A. Taren, Parag G. Patil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The management of severe, medically intractable pain is a significant challenge for neurosurgeons and pain management physicians. An existing technique that can effectively alleviate contralateral chronic pain is cordotomy, interruption of the lateral spinothalamic tract of the spinal cord. Since 1912, cordotomy has evolved from a relatively morbid open surgical procedure to a percutaneous radiofrequency procedure with low morbidity. However, since cordotomy is utilized primarily in cancer pain patients, long-term patient follow-up is rare, and the potential duration of analgesia following cordotomy is not known. Here we describe a case with a 41-year follow-up of percutaneous cordotomy for noncancer pain that resulted in over 35 years of complete analgesia, the longest recorded in the literature to date. This case demonstrates that percutaneous cordotomy can provide long-lasting, complete analgesia in some patients and merits continuation as a part of the neurosurgical arsenal of pain therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-272
Number of pages7
JournalStereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Noncancer pain
  • Percutaneous cordotomy
  • Radiofrequency ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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