Study Explores Reasons for Pain after “Successful” Spinal Surgery

Released: 20-Mar-2014 4:00 PM EDT
Embargo expired: 9-Apr-2014 5:30 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
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Citations 82nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons

SAN FRANCISCO (April 9, 2014) —Understanding why pain persists despite structurally successful spinal surgery is a question that has long puzzled physicians. In a study that melds the interrelated domains of spinal surgery and pain medicine, researchers have discovered that in the transition from acute inflammatory pain to chronic neuropathic pain, neurons undergo molecular changes.

Team leader Mohammed Farid Shamji, MD, PhD, FAANS, presented the study’s findings today during the 82nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). Titled Peripheral Hypersensitivity to Subthreshold Stimuli Persists after Resolution of Acute Experimental Disc-Herniation Neuropathy and Is Mediated by Heightened TRPV1 Receptor Expression and Activity, the study promises to shed light on the basis of neuropathic pain that persists after apparently successful surgery.

Dr. Shamji noted, “It is extremely novel to learn that an autoimmune neuroinflammatory radiculopathy that we clinically manage in most patients as being self-limited has the potential to cause permanent structural changes to neurons and functional sensitivity in the pain experience.”

Understanding the molecular changes that occur, said Dr. Shamji, could help researchers develop appropriate treatments. “If we can minimize the disability caused by this pain syndrome, we may be able to prevent it from occurring upon onset of the acute inflammatory pain, potentially even reversing it once established.”

Study co-authors include Yu Shan Tu; and Michael Salter, MD, PhD, FRSC.

Disclosure: The author reported no conflicts of interest.

Media Representatives: The 2014 AANS Annual Meeting Press Kit includes releases on highlighted scientific research, AANS officer and award winners, National Neurosurgery Awareness Week, and other relevant information about this year’s program. Those releases also will be posted under the Media area on the 2014 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting website (http://www.aans.org/Annual Meeting/2014/Main/Media.aspx). If you would have interest in a topic related to neurosurgery or would like to interview a neurosurgeon — either onsite or via telephone — during this year’s event, please contact John Iwanski, AANS Director of Integrated Marketing and Website Communications, via the onsite press room at 415.978.3603 or e-mail him at jai@aans.org.

About the 2014 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting: Attended by neurosurgeons, neurosurgical residents, medical students, neuroscience nurses, clinical specialists, physician assistants, allied health professionals and other medical professionals, the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting is the largest gathering of neurosurgeons in the nation, with an emphasis on the field’s latest research and technological advances. A record-breaking 1,321 scientific abstracts were presented for review at the 2014 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting, and the scientific presentations given at this year’s event represent cutting-edge examples of the incredible developments taking place within the field of neurosurgery. Additional information about the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting and the Meeting Program can be found at http://www.aans.org/Annual Meeting/2014/Main/Home.aspx.

Founded in 1931 as the Harvey Cushing Society, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) is a scientific and educational association with nearly 8,600 members worldwide. The AANS is dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurological surgery in order to provide the highest quality of neurosurgical care to the public. All active members of the AANS are certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Neurosurgery) of Canada or the Mexican Council of Neurological Surgery, AC. Neurological surgery is the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders that affect the entire nervous system including the spinal column, spinal cord, brain and peripheral nerves. For more information, visit www.AANS.org.

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