Twenty patients with sympathetic maintained pain (SMP) underwent surgery to treat an associated nerve injury. In each patient, an axillary catheter technique was used to maintain anesthesia and sympatholysis for up to 4 days following surgery. In no instance was the SMP exacerbated by the operation. The use of prolonged sympathetic blockade as an adjunct increases the margin of safety in surgery for these patients when nonoperative measures cannot relieve the pain or restore function.
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