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1.  Guides for Pain Clinicians? 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):311-312.
PMCID: PMC4196494  PMID: 25317278
2.  Safe Sedation and Hypnosis using Dexmedetomidine for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery in a Prone Position 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):313-320.
Dexmedetomidine, an imidazoline compound, is a highly selective α2-adrenoceptor agonist with sympatholytic, sedative, amnestic, and analgesic properties. In order to minimize the patients' pain and anxiety during minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) when compared to conventional surgery under general anesthesia, an adequate conscious sedation (CS) or monitored anesthetic care (MAC) should be provided. Commonly used intravenous sedatives and hypnotics, such as midazolam and propofol, are not suitable for operations in a prone position due to undesired respiratory depression. Dexmedetomidine converges on an endogenous non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep-promoting pathway to exert its sedative effects. The great merit of dexmedetomidine for CS or MAC is the ability of the operator to recognize nerve damage during percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy, a representative MISS. However, there are 2 shortcomings for dexmedetomidine in MISS: hypotension/bradycardia and delayed emergence. Its hypotension/bradycardiac effects can be prevented by ketamine intraoperatively. Using atipamezole (an α2-adrenoceptor antagonist) might allow doctors to control the rate of recovery from procedural sedation in the future. MAC, with other analgesics such as ketorolac and opioids, creates ideal conditions for MISS. In conclusion, dexmedetomidine provides a favorable surgical condition in patients receiving MISS in a prone position due to its unique properties of conscious sedation followed by unconscious hypnosis with analgesia. However, no respiratory depression occurs based on the dexmedetomidine-related endogenous sleep pathways involves the inhibition of the locus coeruleus in the pons, which facilitates VLPO firing in the anterior hypothalamus.
PMCID: PMC4196495  PMID: 25317279
adrenergic alpha-2 receptor agonists; conscious sedation; dexmedetomidine; minimally invasive surgical procedures; percutaneous discectomy
3.  Anatomic Variations of Cervical and High Thoracic Ligamentum Flavum 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):321-325.
Epidural blocks are widely used for the management of acute and chronic pain. The technique of loss of resistance is frequently adopted to determine the epidural space. A discontinuity of the ligamentum flavum may increase the risk of failure to identify the epidural space. The purpose of this study was to investigate the anatomic variations of the cervical and high thoracic ligamentum flavum in embalmed cadavers.
Vertebral column specimens of 15 human cadavers were obtained. After vertebral arches were detached from pedicles, the dural sac and epidural connective tissue were removed. The ligamentum flavum from C3 to T6 was directly examined anteriorly.
The incidence of midline gaps in the ligamentum flavum was 87%-100% between C3 and T2. The incidence decreased below this level and was the lowest at T4-T5 (8%). Among the levels with a gap, the location of a gap in the caudal third of the ligamentum flavum was more frequent than in the middle or cephalic portion of the ligamentum flavum.
The cervical and high thoracic ligamentum flavum frequently has midline intervals with various features, especially in the caudal portion of the intervertebral space. Therefore, the ligamentum flavum is not always reliable as a perceptible barrier to identify the epidural space at these vertebral levels. Additionally, it may be more useful to insert the needle into the cephalic portion of the intervertebral space than in the caudal portion.
PMCID: PMC4196496  PMID: 25317280
epidural analgesia; epidural space; ligamentum flavum
4.  Effects of Nefopam on Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Neuropathic Pain in Rats 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):326-333.
Nefopam is a centrally acting non-opioid analgesic agent. Its analgesic properties may be related to the inhibitions of monoamine reuptake and the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. The antinociceptive effect of nefopam has been shown in animal models of acute and chronic pain and in humans. However, the effect of nefopam on diabetic neuropathic pain is unclear. Therefore, we investigated the preventive effect of nefopam on diabetic neuropathic pain induced by streptozotocin (STZ) in rats.
Pretreatment with nefopam (30 mg/kg) was performed intraperitoneally 30 min prior to an intraperitoneal injection of STZ (60 mg/kg). Mechanical and cold allodynia were tested before, and 1 to 4 weeks after drug administration. Thermal hyperalgesia was also investigated. In addition, the transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) and TRP melastatin 8 (TRPM8) expression levels in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) were evaluated.
Pretreatment with nefopam significantly inhibited STZ-induced mechanical and cold allodynia, but not thermal hyperalgesia. The STZ injection increased TRPM8, but not TRPA1, expression levels in DRG neurons. Pretreatment with nefopam decreased STZ-induced TRPM8 expression levels in the DRG.
These results demonstrate that a nefopam pretreatment has strong antiallodynic effects on STZ-induced diabetic rats, which may be associated with TRPM8 located in the DRG.
PMCID: PMC4196497  PMID: 25317281
allodynia; nefopam; painful diabetic neuropathy; streptozotocin; TRPA1; TRPM8
5.  The Effects of a Forceful Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection on Radicular Pain: A Preliminary Study 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):334-338.
Lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injections (TFESIs) are performed to provide symptom relief in patients with radicular pain. Recent articles suggested that injected volume itself have analgesic effects and higher volumes are associated with better outcomes. To date, few studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of volume. Therefore, well-designed controlled studies were necessary to confirm the effect of volume itself on pain relief. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a forceful saline injection on lumbar TFESI using non-particulate steroids.
Fifty consecutive patients with lumbar radicular pain were enrolled. The participants were allocated into one of two groups: dexamethasone with volume (Group DV) and dexamethasone alone (Group DO). The volume was delivered by a forceful injection of 5ml of normal saline. The primary end-point for this study was a VAS pain score and modified MacNab score indicating the rate of effectiveness at the four-week follow-up.
There were no significant post-procedural VAS differences between two groups (P = .252). The effectiveness rate among the patients was 47.8% in DV group, 34.8% in DO group, measured by modified MacNab score. The difference was not statistically significant (P = .117).
A forceful saline injection did not have a significant effect during the treatment of radicular pain. Further studies with greater volumes and with additional techniques would offer a more conclusive perspective.
PMCID: PMC4196498  PMID: 25317282
epidural; radiculopathy; steroid
6.  Do Severity Score and Skin Temperature Asymmetry Correlate with the Subjective Pain Score in the Patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome? 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):339-344.
The diagnostic criteria of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) have mainly focused on dichotomous (yes/no) categorization, which makes it difficult to compare the inter-patient's condition and to evaluate the intra-patient's subtle severity over the course of time. To overcome this limitation, many efforts have been made to create laboratory methods or scoring systems to reflect the severity of CRPS; measurement of the skin temperature asymmetry is one of the former, and the CRPS severity score (CSS) is one of the latter. However, there has been no study on the correlations among the CSS, temperature asymmetry and subjective pain score. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether there is any correlation between the CSS, skin temperature asymmetry and subjective pain score.
Patients affected with CRPS in a unilateral limb were included in this study. After making a diagnosis of CRPS according to the Budapest criteria, the CSS and skin temperature difference between the affected and unaffected limb (ΔT) was measured in each patient. Finally, we conducted a correlation analysis among the CSS, ΔT and visual analogue scale (VAS) score of the patients.
A total of 42 patients were included in this study. There was no significant correlation between the ΔT and VAS score (Spearman's rho = 0.066, P = 0.677). Also, the CSS and VAS score showed no significant correlation (Spearman's rho = 0.163, P = 0.303).
The ΔT and CSS do not seem to reflect the degree of subjective pain in CRPS patients.
PMCID: PMC4196499  PMID: 25317283
complex regional pain syndrome; infrared thermography; severity of illness index; visual analogue pain scale
7.  Analgesia after Epidural Dexamethasone is Further Enhanced by IV Dipyrone, but Not IV Parecoxibe Following Minor Orthopedic Surgery 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):345-352.
Epidural administration of dexamethasone has been suggested for pain control after minor orthopedic surgery. This study was conducted to assess its efficacy after such surgery, combined or not to IV dipyrone, IV parecoxibe or their combination.
91 patients were randomly assigned to seven groups. Patients were submitted to spinal bupivacaine anesthesia combined to epidural administration of either 10 ml saline or 10 mg dexamethasone diluted to 10-ml volume. Patients also received 10 ml IV saline or 1 gr dipyrone and/or 40 mg parecoxibe diluted to 10 ml with saline. Control group (CG) received epidural and IV saline. Dexamethasone group (DexG) received epidural dexamethasone and IV saline. Dipyrone group (DipG) received epidural saline and IV dipyrone. Dex-Dip G received epidural dexamethasone and IV dipyrone. Parecoxibe group (ParG) received epidural saline and IV parecoxibe. Dex-ParG received epidural dexamethasone and IV parecoxibe. Finally, Dex-Dip-ParG received epidural dexamethasone and IV dipyrone plus IV parecoxibe.
The CG expressed 4h of analgesia and sooner requested pain killer. DexG was similar to DipG or ParG or Dex-ParG (7-hours), and they requested less ketoprofen compared to the CG (P < 0.05). However, the Dex-DipG and the Dex-Dip-ParG resulted in longer time to demand pain killer (17-hours) and less ketoprofen consumption in 24-hours (P < 0.002). Adverse effects were similar among groups.
The analgesia secondary to epidural dexamethasone was enhanced by IV dipyrone, while no effects were observed by the addition of IV parecoxibe.
PMCID: PMC4196500  PMID: 25317284
epidural dexamethasone; orthopedic surgery; postoperative pain; IV dipyrone; IV parecoxibe
8.  Correlation between Epidurographic Contrast Flow Patterns and Clinical Effectiveness in Chronic Lumbar Discogenic Radicular Pain Treated with Epidural Steroid Injections Via Different Approaches 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):353-359.
Epidural steroid injections are an accepted procedure for the conservative management of chronic backache caused by lumbar disc pathology. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the epidurographic findings for the midline, transforaminal and parasagittal approaches in lumbar epidural steroid injections, and correlating them with the clinical improvement.
Sixty chronic lower back pain patients with unilateral radiculitis from a herniated/degenerated disc were enrolled. After screening the patients according to the exclusion criteria and randomly allocating them to 3 groups of 20 patients, fluoroscopic contrast enhanced epidural steroids were injected via midline (group 1), transforaminal (group 2) and parasagittal interlaminar (group 3) approaches at the level of the pathology. The fluoroscopic patterns of the three groups were studied and correlated with the clinical improvement measured by the VAS over the next 3 months; any incidences of complications were recorded.
The transforaminal group presented better results in terms of VAS reduction than the midline and parasagittal approach groups (P < 0.05). The epidurography showed a better ventral spread for both the transforaminal (P < 0.001) and the paramedian approaches (P < 0.05), as compared to the midline approach. The nerve root filling was greater in the transforaminal group (P < 0.001) than in the other two groups. The ventral spread of the contrast agent was associated with improvement in the VAS score and this difference was statistically significant in group 1 (P < 0.05), and highly significant in groups 2 and 3 (P < 0.001). In all the groups, any complications observed were transient and minor.
The midline and paramedian approaches are technically easier and statistically comparable, but clinically less efficacious than the transforaminal approach. The incidence of ventral spread and nerve root delineation show a definite correlation with clinical improvement. However, an longer follow-up period is advisable for a better evaluation of the actual outcom.
PMCID: PMC4196501  PMID: 25317285
epidural steroid injection; fluoroscopy; midline interlaminar; parasagittal interlaminar; transforaminal
9.  Large Sized Common Iliac Artery Aneurysm with Thrombus Developing a Diagnostic Confusion in a Patient with Sciatica 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):360-364.
The causes of sciatica are variable and include musculoskeletal, dermatologic, infectious, neoplastic, and vascular disorders. In many cases, the symptom is usually caused by degenerative disease in the spine with the compression or irritation of spinal nerve. On the other hands, there are also several announced extra-spinal causes including aneurysm, diabetes, and radiation for sciatica in a low rate. Among the extra-spinal cases, aneurysms arising from iliac vessels are sometimes developing a diagnostic confusion with the spinal causes, and delayed diagnosis can lead to poor prognosis. It is very important to pay attention weather the aneurysmal cause is involved in the symptom of sciatica.
PMCID: PMC4196502  PMID: 25317286
iliac aneurysm; lumbar spine; sciatica
10.  Curcumin, COX-2, and Protein p300/CBP 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(4):365-366.
PMCID: PMC4196503  PMID: 25317287
11.  Epidural Steroid Injection: A Need for a New Clinical Practice Guideline 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):197-199.
PMCID: PMC4099231  PMID: 25031804
12.  Current Evidence for Spinal Opioid Selection in Postoperative Pain 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):200-209.
Spinal opioid administration is an excellent option to separate the desirable analgesic effects of opioids from their expected dose-limiting side effects to improve postoperative analgesia. Therefore, physicians must better identify either specific opioids or adequate doses and routes of administration that result in a mainly spinal site of action rather than a cerebral analgesic one.
The purpose of this topical review is to describe current available clinical evidence to determine what opioids reach high enough concentrations to produce spinally selective analgesia when given by epidural or intrathecal routes and also to make recommendations regarding their rational and safety use for the best management of postoperative pain. To this end, a search of Medline/Embase was conducted to identify all articles published up to December 2013 on this topic.
Recent advances in spinal opioid bioavailability, based on both animals and humans trials support the theory that spinal opioid bioavailability is inversely proportional to the drug lipid solubility, which is higher in hydrophilic opioids like morphine, diamorphine and hydromorphone than lipophilic ones like alfentanil, fentanyl and sufentanil.
Results obtained from meta-analyses of RTCs is considered to be the 'highest' level and support their use. However, it's a fact that meta-analyses based on studies about treatment of postoperative pain should explore clinical surgery heterogeneity to improve patient's outcome. This observation forces physicians to use of a specific procedure surgical-based practical guideline. A vigilance protocol is also needed to achieve a good postoperative analgesia in terms of efficacy and security.
PMCID: PMC4099232  PMID: 25031805
epidural opioids; intrathecal opioids; postoperative pain; spinal analgesia
13.  Brachial Plexus Injury as a Complication after Nerve Block or Vessel Puncture 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):210-218.
Brachial plexus injury is a potential complication of a brachial plexus block or vessel puncture. It results from direct needle trauma, neurotoxicity of injection agents and hematoma formation. The neurological presentation may range from minor transient pain to severe sensory disturbance or motor loss with poor recovery. The management includes conservative treatment and surgical exploration. Especially if a hematoma forms, it should be removed promptly. Comprehensive knowledge of anatomy and adept skills are crucial to avoid nerve injuries. Whenever possible, the patient should not be heavily sedated and should be encouraged to immediately inform the doctor of any experience of numbness/paresthesia during the nerve block or vessel puncture.
PMCID: PMC4099233  PMID: 25031806
brachial plexus; brachial plexus neuropathies; nerve block; subclavian vein
14.  Therapeutic Effect of Epidurally Administered Lipo-Prostaglandin E1 Agonist in a Rat Spinal Stenosis Model 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):219-228.
A lipo-prostaglandin E1 agonist is effective for the treatment of neurological symptoms of spinal stenosis when administered by an oral or intravenous route. we would like to reveal the therapeutic effect of an epidural injection of lipo-prostaglandin E1 on hyperalgesia in foraminal stenosis.
A total of 40 male Sprague-Dawley rats were included. A small stainless steel rod was inserted into the L5/L6 intervertebral foramen to produce intervertebral foraminal stenosis and chronic compression of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). The rats were divided into three groups: epidural PGE1 (EP) (n = 15), saline (n = 15), and control (n = 10). In the EP group, 0.15 µ of a lipo-PGE1 agonist was injected daily via an epidural catheter for 10 days from postoperative day 3. In the saline group, saline was injected. Behavioral tests for mechanical hyperalgesia were performed for 3 weeks. Then, the target DRG was analyzed for the degree of chromatolysis, chronic inflammation, and fibrosis in light microscopic images.
From the fifth day after lipo-PGE1 agonist injection, the EP group showed significant recovery from mechanical hyperalgesia, which was maintained for 3 weeks (P < 0.05). Microscopic analysis showed much less chromatolysis in the EP group than in the saline or control groups.
An epidurally administered lipo-PGE1 agonist relieved neuropathic pain, such as mechanical hyperalgesia, in a rat foraminal stenosis model, with decreasing chromatolysis in target DRG. We suggest that epidurally administered lipo-PGE1 may be a useful therapeutic candidate for patients with spinal stenosis.
PMCID: PMC4099234  PMID: 25031807
epidural administration; hyperalgesia; spinal stenosis
15.  Bupivacaine-induced Vasodilation Is Mediated by Decreased Calcium Sensitization in Isolated Endothelium-denuded Rat Aortas Precontracted with Phenylephrine 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):229-238.
A toxic dose of bupivacaine produces vasodilation in isolated aortas. The goal of this in vitro study was to investigate the cellular mechanism associated with bupivacaine-induced vasodilation in isolated endotheliumdenuded rat aortas precontracted with phenylephrine.
Isolated endothelium-denuded rat aortas were suspended for isometric tension recordings. The effects of nifedipine, verapamil, iberiotoxin, 4-aminopyridine, barium chloride, and glibenclamide on bupivacaine concentration-response curves were assessed in endothelium-denuded aortas precontracted with phenylephrine. The effect of phenylephrine and KCl used for precontraction on bupivacaine-induced concentration-response curves was assessed. The effects of verapamil on phenylephrine concentration-response curves were assessed. The effects of bupivacaine on the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) and tension in aortas precontracted with phenylephrine were measured simultaneously with the acetoxymethyl ester of a fura-2-loaded aortic strip.
Pretreatment with potassium channel inhibitors had no effect on bupivacaine-induced relaxation in the endothelium-denuded aortas precontracted with phenylephrine, whereas verapamil or nifedipine attenuated bupivacaine-induced relaxation. The magnitude of the bupivacaine-induced relaxation was enhanced in the 100 mM KCl-induced precontracted aortas compared with the phenylephrine-induced precontracted aortas. Verapamil attenuated the phenylephrine-induced contraction. The magnitude of the bupivacaine-induced relaxation was higher than that of the bupivacaine-induced [Ca2+]i decrease in the aortas precontracted with phenylephrine.
Taken together, these results suggest that toxic-dose bupivacaine-induced vasodilation appears to be mediated by decreased calcium sensitization in endothelium-denuded aortas precontracted with phenylephrine. In addition, potassium channel inhibitors had no effect on bupivacaine-induced relaxation. Toxic-dose bupivacaine- induced vasodilation may be partially associated with the inhibitory effect of voltage-operated calcium channels.
PMCID: PMC4099235  PMID: 25031808
aorta; bupivacaine; calcium sensitization; phenylephrine; vasodilation; verapamil
16.  Intrathecal Administration of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Reduces the Reactive Oxygen Species and Pain Behavior in Neuropathic Rats 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):239-245.
Neuropathic pain induced by spinal or peripheral nerve injury is very resistant to common pain killers, nerve block, and other pain management approaches. Recently, several studies using stem cells suggested a new way to control the neuropatic pain. In this study, we used the spinal nerve L5 ligation (SNL) model to investigate whether intrathecal rat mesenchymal stem cells (rMSCs) were able to decrease pain behavior, as well as the relationship between rMSCs and reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Neuropathic pain of the left hind paw was induced by unilateral SNL in Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 10 in each group). Mechanical sensitivity was assessed using Von Frey filaments at 3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, and 24 days post-ligation. rMSCs (10 µl, 1 × 105) or phosphate buffer saline (PBS, 10 µl) was injected intrathecally at 7 days post-ligation. Dihydroethidium (DHE), an oxidative fluorescent dye, was used to detect ROS at 24 days post-ligation.
Tight ligation of the L5 spinal nerve induced allodynia in the left hind paw after 3 days post-ligation. ROS expression was increased significantly (P < 0.05) in spinal dorsal horn of L5. Intrathecal rMSCs significantly (P < 0.01) alleviated the allodynia at 10 days after intrathecal injection (17 days post-ligation). Intrathecal rMSCs administration significantly (P < 0.05) reduced ROS expression in the spinal dorsal horn.
These results suggest that rMSCs may modulate neuropathic pain generation through ROS expression after spinal nerve ligation.
PMCID: PMC4099236  PMID: 25031809
mesenchymal stem cells; neuropathic pain; reactive oxygen species
17.  The Attenuation of Pain Behavior and Serum COX-2 Concentration by Curcumin in a Rat Model of Neuropathic Pain 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):246-252.
Neuropathic pain is generally defined as a chronic pain state resulting from peripheral and/or central nerve injury. There is a lack of effective treatment for neuropathic pain, which may possibly be related to poor understanding of pathological mechanisms at the molecular level. Curcumin, a therapeutic herbal extract, has shown to be effectively capable of reducing chronic pain induced by peripheral administration of inflammatory agents such as formalin. In this study, we aimed to show the effect of curcumin on pain behavior and serum COX-2 level in a Chronic Constriction Injury (CCI) model of neuropathic pain.
Wistar male rats (150-200 g, n = 8) were divided into three groups: CCI vehicle-treated, sham-operated, and CCI drug-treated group. Curcumin (12.5, 25, 50 mg/kg, IP) was injected 24 h before surgery and continued daily for 7 days post-surgery. Behavioral tests were performed once before and following the days 1, 3, 5, 7 after surgery. The serum COX-2 level was measured on day 7 after the surgery.
Curcumin (50 mg/kg) decreased mechanical and cold allodynia (P < 0.001) and produced a decline in serum COX-2 level (P < 0.001).
A considerable decline in pain behavior and serum COX-2 levels was seen in rat following administration of curcumin in CCI model of neuropathic pain. High concentration of Curcumin was able to reduce the chronic neuropathic pain induced by CCI model and the serum level of COX-2.
PMCID: PMC4099237  PMID: 25031810
allodynia; COX-2; curcumin; neuropathic pain
18.  Morphologic Diversities of Sacral Canal in Children; Three-Dimensional Computed Tomographic Study 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):253-259.
Caudal block is a common technique in children for reducing postoperative pain, and there have been several reports on the variations of the sacral canal in children. However, previous studies have mainly focused on the needle trajectory for caudal block, and there is limited information on the structural variations of the sacrum in children. The purpose of this study was to analyze the anatomic variations of sacral canals in children.
Three-dimensional computed tomographic images were analyzed. The data from the images included ① fusion of the sacral vertebral laminae and the sacral intervertebral space ② existence of the sacral cornua and ③ the types of sacral hiatus. The types of sacral hiatus were classified into 3 groups: group I (fusion of S3 or S4 vertebral laminae), group II (unfused vertebral arch with the distance of the S3 and S4 vertebral laminae < 50% of the distance between the cornua), and group III (unfused vertebral arch with the distance of the S3 or S4 vertebral laminae ≥ 50% of the distance between the cornua).
A total of 143 children were included in this study. All of the sacral vertebral arches were not fused in 22 children (15.4%). Cornua were not identified bilaterally in 5 (3.5%) and unilaterally in 6 (4.2%) children. In the sacral hiatus, group II and group III were identified in 22 (15.4%) and 31 (21.7%) children, respectively.
The sacral canal has various anatomical variations in children. Careful attention must be paid to identify the correct anatomic landmark.
PMCID: PMC4099238  PMID: 25031811
anatomic variation; caudal anesthesia; sacrum; three-dimensional imaging; tomography
19.  Experience with Conventional Radiofrequency Thermorhizotomy in Patients with Failed Medical Management for Trigeminal Neuralgia 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):260-265.
To evaluate the results of conventional radiofrequency thermorhizotomy (CRT) for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) in patients with failed medical management.
Patients with Trigeminal neuralgia who were referred to us for 'limited intervention' during the time frame July-2011 to Jan-2013 were enrolled for this study. CRT was administered by the Sweet technique. Pain relief was evaluated by the principle investigator.
Eighteen patients were enrolled and completed a mean follow-up of 18.0 months. Pain relief was observed in 14 of 18 (77.8%) patients on the post-operative day, 14 of 18 (77.8%) at 1-month follow-up, 14 of 17 (82.4%) at 3-months follow-up, 12 of 15 (80%) at 6-months follow-up, 7 of 11 (63.6%) at 1-year follow-up and 2 of 6 (33.3%) 1.5 years of follow-up. Four patients required a repeat cycle of CRT; two at six months of follow-up and two at one year of follow-up. One patient was transferred for surgical intervention at six months of follow-up. Side-effects included facial hypoesthesia (n = 6); nausea/vomiting (n = 2), diminished corneal reflex (n = 13) and difficulty in chewing (n = 11). Severity of adverse effects gradually diminished and none of the patients who are beyond 6 months of follow-up have any functional limitation.
CRT is an effective method of pain relief for patients with Trigeminal neuralgia. Successful outcome (excellent or good) can be expected in 66.7% of patients after first cycle of CRF. The incidence and severity of adverse effects is less and the procedure is better tolerated by the patients.
PMCID: PMC4099239  PMID: 25031812
radiofrequency; treatment; trigeminal ganglion; trigeminal neuralgia
20.  Variations in Entrance of Vertebral Artery in Korean Cervical Spine: MDCT-based Analysis 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):266-270.
Knowledge of the anatomical variation of the vertebral artery has clinical importance not only for the performance of interventional or surgical procedures itself but also to ensure their safety. We conducted a study of the anatomical variation by reviewing multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) images of the cervical spine from 460 Korean patients.
16-row MDCT data from 460 patients were used in this study. We observed 920 vertebral arteries. Examination points included level of entrance of the artery into the transverse foramen of the cervical vertebra, origin site of the vertebral artery, course of a vertebral artery with aberrant entrance.
The vertebral artery in 2 (0.2%) cases in this study entered into the transverse foramen of the 7th cervical vertebra from the left. In 45 (4.9%) cases, the vertebral artery entered into the transverse foramen of the 5th cervical vertebra. Of these, the entrance was on the right in 15 (1.6%) and on the left in 30 (3.3%). We found 17 (1.8%) cases in which the artery entered into the transverse foramen of the 4th cervical vertebra, 10 (1.1%) on the right and 7 (0.7%) on the left side. As is commonly acknowledged, the 6th cervical vertebra was the most common site of entry; the vertebral artery entered the transverse foramen of the 6th cervical vertebra in the remaining 855 (93.0%) cases, on the right in 434 (47.2%) and on the left in 421 (45.8%).
In conclusion, the possibility of an atypical course of the vertebral artery in segments V1 and V2 should be evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or CT images before carrying out procedures involving the anterior cervical vertebrae.
PMCID: PMC4099240  PMID: 25031813
cervical spine; multi-detector computed tomography; vertebral artery
21.  Intravenous Patient-controlled Analgesia Has a Positive Effect on the Prognosis of Delirium in Patients Undergoing Orthopedic Surgery 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):271-277.
Postoperative delirium is relatively common. However, the relationship between intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (IV-PCA) and delirium has not been thoroughly investigated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of IV-PCA on the prognosis of postoperative delirium in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery.
Medical records of 129 patients with postoperative delirium were reviewed. Patients were divided into two groups according to whether they used IV-PCA with fentanyl and ketorolac. The IV-PCA group consisted of 73 patients who were managed with IV-PCA; the NO-PCA group consisted of 56 patients who were managed without PCA.
Incidences of multiple psychiatric consultations and prolonged delirium were significantly lower in patients using IV-PCA with fentanyl and ketorolac than in those without PCA.
We recommend the use of IV-PCA for pain control and management of delirium in patients with postoperative delirium.
PMCID: PMC4099241  PMID: 25031814
delirium; patient-controlled analgesia; postoperative; psychiatric
22.  Evaluation of the Efficacy of Methylprednisolone, Etoricoxib and a Combination of the Two Substances to Attenuate Postoperative Pain and PONV in Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: A Prospective, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):278-284.
Establishment of laparoscopic cholecystectomy as an outpatient procedure has accentuated the clinical importance of reducing early postoperative pain, as well as postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). We therefore planned to evaluate the role of a multimodal approach in attenuating these problems.
One hundred and twenty adult patients of ASA physical status I and II and undergoing elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy were included in this prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Patients were divided into four groups of 30 each to receive methylprednisolone 125 mg intravenously or etoricoxib 120 mg orally or a combination of methylprednisolone 125 mg intravenously and etoricoxib 120 mg orally or a placebo 1 hr prior to surgery. Patients were observed for postoperative pain, fentanyl consumption, PONV, fatigue and sedation, and respiratory depression. Results were analyzed by the ANOVA, a Chi square test, the Mann Whitney U test and by Fisher's exact test. P values of less than 0.05 were considered to be significant.
Postoperative pain and fentanyl consumption were significantly reduced by methylprednisolone, etoricoxib and their combination when compared with placebo (P<0.05). The methylprednisolone + etoricoxib combination caused a significant reduction in postoperative pain and fentanyl consumption as compared to methylprednisolone or etoricoxib alone (P<0.05); however, there was no significant difference between the methylprednisolone and etoricoxib groups (P>0.05). The methylprednisolone and methylprednisolone + etoricoxib combination significantly reduced the incidence and severity of PONV and fatigue as well as the total number of patients requiring an antiemetic treatment compared to the placebo and etoricoxib (P<0.05).
A preoperative single-dose administration of a combination of methylprednisolone and etoricoxib reduces postoperative pain along with fentanyl consumption, PONV, antiemetic requirements and fatigue more effectively than methylprednisolone or etoricoxib alone or a placebo.
PMCID: PMC4099242  PMID: 25031815
etoricoxib; laparoscopic cholecystectomy; methylprednisolone; PONV; postoperative pain
23.  Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Treat Depression and Insomnia with Chronic Low Back Pain 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):285-289.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive and safe technique for motor cortex stimulation. TMS is used to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders, including mood and movement disorders. TMS can also treat several types of chronic neuropathic pain. The pain relief mechanism of cortical stimulation is caused by modifications in neuronal excitability. Depression is a common co-morbidity with chronic pain. Pain and depression should be treated concurrently to achieve a positive outcome. Insomnia also frequently occurs with chronic lower back pain. Several studies have proposed hypotheses for TMS pain management. Herein, we report two cases with positive results for the treatment of depression and insomnia with chronic low back pain by TMS.
PMCID: PMC4099243  PMID: 25031816
back pain; chronic pain; depression; insomnia; transcranial magnetic stimulation
24.  Pulsed Radiofrequency Ablation Under Ultrasound Guidance for Huge Neuroma 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):290-293.
Amputation neuroma can cause very serious, intractable pain. Many treatment modalities are suggested for painful neuroma. Pharmacologic treatment shows a limited effect on eliminating the pain, and surgical treatment has a high recurrence rate. We applied pulsed radiofrequency treatment at the neuroma stalk under ultrasonography guidance. The long-term outcome was very successful, prompting us to report this case.
PMCID: PMC4099244  PMID: 25031817
amputation; neuroma; pulsed radiofrequency treatment; ultrasonography
25.  Antidepressant-induced Burning Mouth Syndrome: A Unique Case 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2014;27(3):294-296.
Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) is defined as a chronic orofacial pain syndrome, without evidence of mucosal lesions and other clinical signs of disease or laboratory abnormalities. Patients with BMS complain of burning pain in the mouth, xerostomia and taste disturbances. It is more common among women and the median age of occurrence is about 60 years. BMS may be primary or secondary to other diseases. The mainstay in the treatment of BMS includes antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and anticonvulsants. A few cases of BMS caused due to medication have been reported. The causative drugs include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, anticoagulants, antipsychotics, antiretrovirals, and benzodiazepines. This is a case report of a patient on antidepressants who developed symptoms of BMS thereby causing a dilemma in management.
PMCID: PMC4099245  PMID: 25031818
antidepressants; burning mouth syndrome; drug-induced BMS; fluoxetin; SSRI

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