Sympathectomy for Causalgia: Patient Selection and Long-term Results

Mary B. Mockus, Robert B. Rutherford*, Camilo Rosales, William H. Pearce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Thirty-four sympathectomies were performed for causalgic pain. Overt extremity trauma was the precipitating event in only 26%. In 48%, nerve compression requiring surgical relief preceded the onset of the pain; most common lumbar disk surgery (37%). In the remainder (26%), miscellaneous vascular conditions contributed. Satisfactory immediate relief was obtained in 97% and 61% were completely relieved of pain initially. There were no deaths, 10% wound complication rate, and one instance of Horner's syndrome. Postsympathectomy neuralgia occurred in close to 40%, lasted a little over a month on the average but did not persist beyond ten weeks. In extended follow-up, only one patient failed to sustain satisfactory relief (97% of those relieved, 94% of the total) and 84% continued to enjoy the same degree of relief as they had immediately preoperatively. This frequency, degree, and duration of benefit establishes causalgic pain as one of the best indications for surgical sympathectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-672
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Sympathectomy for Causalgia: Patient Selection and Long-term Results'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this