Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Objective: Patients who undergo intramedullary spinal surgery occasionally experience post-surgical chronic pain; however, the underlying mechanisms are not yet completely understood. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the cerebral structural changes in patients with post-surgical chronic myelopathic pain using voxel-based morphometry. Setting: Single university hospital in Tokyo, Japan. Methods: Forty-nine patients who had undergone intramedullary spinal surgery between January 2002 and April 2014 participated in this study. Participants were classified into two groups based on their post-surgical chronic pain intensity: control (numeric rating scale score of <3) and pain (numeric rating scale score of ≥3) groups. We compared pain questionnaire and brain MRI between two groups. Brain MRI data of each participants was analyzed using voxel-based morphometry. Results: Voxel-based morphometry revealed that the gray matter volume in the left supplementary motor area, left primary motor area, and left posterior cingulate cortex was higher in the pain group than that in the control group. In addition, the numeric rating scale score was significantly correlated with increased gray matter volume in the left primary motor area, left posterior cingulate cortex, and right superior parietal lobule. Conclusion: Present study elucidates the characteristic cerebral structural changes after an intramedullary spinal surgery using voxel-based morphometry and indicates that the structural changes in specific cerebral areas are associated with post-surgical chronic myelopathic pain.
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