A thoracotomy is the incision made to open the chest to access vital organs during surgery. Post-thoracotomy syndrome, or post-thoracotomy pain syndrome, describes pain felt by the patient for a minimum of two months after the thoracotomy procedure. This syndrome is chronic and relatively common among those who have undergone a thoracotomy, and the symptoms can vary greatly in duration and severity. Symptoms experienced can range from tingling, itching, burning, prickling, tenderness, sensitivity, or pinching sensations to more intense shooting pains, loss of mobility in the shoulder, cramping, and dull, throbbing pains.
While the exact cause of post-thoracotomy syndrome is uncertain, it is believed to be caused by a combination of intercostal nerve damage, inflammation, and scarring. For the treatment of post-thoracotomy syndrome, doctors may recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, prescription pain relievers, or nerve blocking injections.
Pain Management Locations
To find a pain management specialist,
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
110 Irving Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010
MedStar Health at Lafayette Centre
1133 21st St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
MedStar Health at Brandywine
13950 Brandywine Road
Brandywine, MD 20613