New research published this month in BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care finds that patients with pleural mesothelioma may benefit from a surgical procedure to disable certain pain-conductors in the spinal cord. The procedure, called cordotomy, is typically performed on patients in severe pain due to cancer or other incurable diseases. It is usually done with a needle under fluoroscopic guidance. Most mesothelioma patients who undergo cordotomies have only local anesthesia.
Chest pain is a common problem for patients in the later stages of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Researchers performed a systematic review of nine studies of 160 patients with mesothelioma who underwent cordotomies. Most patients experienced the greatest reduction in their pain immediately after surgery. Side effects including headache, mirror pain, and motor weakness were common but went away quickly. None of the mesothelioma patients experienced more difficulty in breathing as a result of the cordotomy procedure and no patients died because of the procedure. Read the complete article from the journal here.