Chronic Post-Thoracotomy Pain Syndrome

  • Peter Gerner
  • Peter Gerner


Postthoracotomy pain syndrome (PTPS), also known as chronic postthoracotomy pain or postthoracotomy neuralgia, is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as “pain that recurs or persists along a thoracotomy incision at least 2 months following the surgical procedure.” In general, it is burning and stabbing pain (spontaneous pain) with dysesthesia and thus shares many features of neuropathic pain. The sensation of evoked pain, in response to a normally nonpainful stimulus (allodynia), such as tactile allodynia, or an exaggerated response to a slightly painful stimulus (hyperalgesia), such as mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia, especially when accompanied by numbness, is considered diagnostic for nerve injury. These symptoms occur frequently along the innervation area of the intercostal nerves and are the most frequent feature of postthoracotomy pain. PTPS is increasingly acknowledged by anesthesiologists and surgeons as significant and potentially modifiable.(1)


Postthoracotomy neuralgia Postthoracotomy pain syndrome Chronic postthoracotomy pain Central sensitization Intercostal nerve damage Cryoanalgesia/cryoablation Preemptive analgesia 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Gerner
    • 1
  • Peter Gerner
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain MedicineParacelsus Medical University, Salzburg General HospitalSalzburgAustria
  2. 2.Harvard Medical School General HospitalBostonUSA

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