• The neurosurgeon can play a significant role in the management of chronic pain. This potential is all too often unrealized or distorted by a lack of knowledge about patients who are suffering from chronic pain. Patient selection is the most important determinant of successful surgical therapy. Patients with chronic pain due to a neoplasm should be offered prompt, definitive neurosurgical intervention. Neurosurgical therapy is less likely to be successful if the pain is secondary to benign disease; tic douloureux is an exception to this rule. If chronic pain behavior is not primarily due to noxious peripheral input, surgery is unlikely to yield any long-term benefit. Augmentation of input by skin stimulation or electrical stimulation of various regions in the peripheral and central nervous system may become important therapeutic procedures for the neurosurgeon.
(Arch Surg 112:880-883, 1977)