BACKGROUND: Complex regional pain syndrome type 1 can be difficult to treat. The purpose of this study was to compare the safety and efficacy of two therapeutic options: percutaneous radiofrequency thermal lumbar sympathectomy and lumbar sympathetic neurolysis.
METHODS: We randomized 20 patients to receive percutaneous radiofrequency lumbar sympathectomy or lumbar sympathetic neurolysis with phenol 7% in lower limb complex regional pain syndrome type 1. The study end points were pain relief and side effects.
RESULTS: Within each group, there were statistically significant reductions from baseline in various pain scores after the procedure. However, there was no statistically significant difference in mean pain scores between the groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on this pilot study, radiofrequency lumbar sympathectomy may be comparable to phenol lumbar sympathectomy. A larger trial is required to confirm these findings.
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