This procedure involves interruption of the pathway in the spinal cord which carries pain impulses up to the brain called the anterolateral spinothalamic tract. It is used for some types of severe one-sided cancer pains, particularly mesothelioma.
Cordotomy is not suitable for people with painful conditions where their life expectancy is likely to be more than a year or so since the procedure itself can, after a prolonged period, give rise to unpleasant pain. Although in the past cordotomy was used for pains other than those from advanced cancer this is no longer done.
Some information on the Mesothelioma UK website
For professionals, the referral guidelines for Warwick, where our colleagues Dr Hugh Antrobus performs cordotomy, can be accessed here.
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Pain Service Website, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Webmaster Dr J G de Courcy, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia
Page updated 19/02/2016