OBJECTIVES:: Mirror-image sensory dysfunction (MISD) has not been systematically characterized in persistent postoperative pain. METHODS:: The presence of MISD was evaluated with standardized stimuli, in preoperative patients scheduled for a thoracotomy (n=14) and in patients with postthoracotomy pain syndrome [PTPS (n=14)]. The primary outcome was investigation of the areas of sensory dysfunction, evaluated twice by dynamic sensory mapping with metal rollers and a brush. RESULTS:: In PTPS patients, sensory dysfunction was present on the surgical side, and in 12 of 14 patients MISD was demonstrated. The total areas of sensory dysfunction [median (interquartile range)] were: day 1, 500 (289 to 636) cm and 60 (0 to 379) cm on the surgical and nonsurgical side (P0.5). The agreement between test-retest assessments was fair to excellent on the surgical side but poor on the nonsurgical side. None of the PTPS patients experienced mirror pain. DISCUSSION:: MISD is a common finding in PTPS patients and deserves further study involving mechanism and clinical implications.
Clinical Journal of Pain, 2013, Vol 29, Issue 9, p. 775-783