New Study Reveals Spine Procedure May Help Mesothelioma Patients

For decades now, a myriad of people have filed asbestos lawsuits after succumbing to dangerous illnesses such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. These life-threatening diseases are often accompanied with excruciating pain. A recent study, however, published by  BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care, shows that researchers in England suggest that cordotomy, a spinal cord surgery used primarily for cancer patients, may help eliminate pain associated with the later stages of malignant mesothelioma.

According to scientists from Bangor University and Northwest Wales Centre for Primary Research, several studies conducted over the past few years, involving 160 pleural mesothelioma patients, concludes that cordotomy, although it comes with the risk of side effects, is a safe procedure that helps relieve pain:

“All studies demonstrated good pain relief in the majority of patients.  Although the procedure caused side effects in most mesothelioma patients, they were usually temporary and none were life-threatening,” said Barbara France, the study’s lead author.

One study in particularly that was performed in 1999 showed positive results when 52 patients who were previously taking opioids for mesothelioma pain underwent percutaneous cervical cordotomy. The outcome showed that not only did the procedure significantly reduce pain, but that many of the patients were able to cut their opioid dosages in half. Twenty of the patients were able to stop taking the drug completely.

However, even though evidence shows that cordotomy can help alleviate mesothelioma pain, researchers are quick to point out that the study is still under research, and more tests and research must be conducted.

The studies also revealed that most patients who found pain relief did so immediately after the surgery. Side effects included headaches and motor weakness, but were temporary and went away rather quickly. Additionally, breathing was improved and chest pain was reduced.

What is Cordotomy Exactly?

Cordotomy is surgical procedure performed on the spinal cord in order to reduce severe pain. The surgery is carried out via a  needle puncture through the skin, accompanied by a fluoroscopic X-ray. Cordotomy is typically reserved for people who are in the latter stages of cancer. In addition, it’s usually performed on those who are not responding well to traditional mesothelioma medication. However, with ongoing research, cordotomy may become a more common method of pain management for those who suffer through the serious effects that comes with mesothelioma.

Getting Legal Help

If you or a loved one are suffering due to an asbestos-related illness, you may be eligible for compensation if you were exposed to asbestos because of the carelessness of another party. You’ll need an experienced mesothelioma attorney by your side to ensure that your legal rights are met and that you have a successful chance in proving your case. For more information, contact our leading mesothelioma attorneys today for a free case evaluation.

Sources:

http://spcare.bmj.com/content/4/1/19.abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1745449/

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