Spinal Cord Stimulation to Treat Postthoracotomy Neuralgia: Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer: A Case Report

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Surgery is the mainstay of therapy for resectable-type tumors associated with non–small-cell lung cancer. Today, thoracotomy and video-assisted thoracotomy are surgical options. The prevalence of chronic pain with neuropathic symptoms is relatively high after thoracotomy. Spinal cord stimulation to treat such pain has received limited attention in the literature. The aim of this article is to report on the use of spinal cord stimulation in a single case of neuralgia after thoracotomy with lobectomy to treat non–small-cell lung cancer. At 24 months after implantation of the spinal cord stimulation system, the patient reported >75% pain relief, an overall improvement in quality of life—described as less pain with breathing, and improved functional ability pertaining to arm movements—and improved sleep patterns. This detailed case presentation provides a qualitatively weighted investigation into spinal cord stimulation for postthoracotomy neuralgia against the backdrop of oncologic care. Further investigations relying on quantitative assessment tools are necessary to further explore this form of therapy in this patient population. In the single case reported here, the use of spinal cord stimulation suppressed intractable pain targeted at the T6 and T7 dermatomes of the chest wall in the manifestation of postthoracotomy neuralgia.

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