Posttraumatic neuralgia

What is posttraumatic neuralgia, and how is it diagnosed?

PTN is characterized by posttraumatic sensory loss, pain, and allodynia or hyperalgesia in the cutaneous distribution of a single peripheral nerve. PTN can develop after trauma or iatrogenic injury, and is a recognized complication of surgical procedures, including herniorraphy, mastectomy, and thoracotomy. Mechanisms likely include spontaneous depolarizations from a nerve stump with secondary central sensitization and, in some cases, deafferentation pain.

Like painful distal sensory polyneuropathy, geographically restricted PTN can sometimes be treated with topical as well as systemic pharmacotherapy. In addition, interventional pain management modalities can be of diagnostic and therapeutic utility in PTN.

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