- 2020;23;149-157Pulsed Radiofrequency of the Sacral Roots Improves the Success Rate of Superior Hypogastric Plexus Neurolysis in Controlling Pelvic and Perineal Cancer Pain
Diab Fuad Hetta, MD, Ashraf Amin Mohamed, MD, Rania Mohammed Abdel Eman, MD, Fatma Ahmed Abd El Aal, MD, and Marina Emeel Helal, MD.
BACKGROUND: Superior hypogastric plexus neurolytic (SHP-N) block is the mainstay management for pelvic cancer pain of visceral origin when oral opioids fail due to inefficacy or intolerance to side effects. Unfortunately, SHP-N has the potential to control pelvic pain in 62%-72% of patients at best, because chronic pelvic pain may assume additional characteristics other than visceral.
OBJECTIVE: Combining SHP-N with pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) of the sacral roots might block most of the pain characteristics emanating from the pelvic structures and improve the success rate of SHP-N in controlling pelvic and perineal cancer pain.
STUDY DESIGN: This study was a prospective randomized controlled clinical trial.
SETTINGS: The research took place in the interventional pain unit of a tertiary center in the university hospital.
METHODS: Fifty-eight patients complaining of cancer-related chronic pelvic and perineal pain were randomized to either the PRF + SHP group (n = 29), which received SHP-N combined with PRF of the sacral roots S2-4, or the SHP group (n = 29), which received SHP-N alone. The outcome variables were the percentage of patients who showed a > 50% reduction in their Visual Analog Scale (VAS) pain score, the VAS pain score, and global perceived effect evaluated during a 3-month follow-up period.
RESULTS: The percentage of patients who showed a > 50% reduction in their VAS pain score was significantly higher in the SHP + PRF group compared to the SHP group when assessed at one month (92.9% [n = 26] vs 57.7% [n = 15]; P = .003) and 3 months (85.7% [n = 24) vs 53.8% [n = 14]; P = .01) post procedure, respectively. However, no significant difference was observed between the 2 groups at the 6-month evaluation (SHP + PRF [57.1% (n = 16)] vs SHP [50% (n = 13)]; P = .59). There was a statistically significant reduction of VAS in the SHP + PRF group in comparison to the SHP group at one month (2.8 ± 0.9 vs 3.5 ± 1.2 [mean difference, -0.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], -1.29 to -0.1), P = .01]), 2 months (2.8 ± 0.9 vs 3.5 ± 1.2 [mean difference, -0.64 (95% CI, -1.23 to -0.05), P = .03]), and 3 months (2.7 ± 1 vs 3.4 ± 1.2 [mean difference, -0.67 (95% CI, -1.29 to -0.05)], P = .03]) post procedure, respectively; however, the 2 groups did not significantly differ at 2 weeks, 4, 5, and 6 months post procedure. Regarding postprocedural analgesic consumption, there were trends towards reduced opioid consumption at all postprocedural measured time points in the SHP+PRF group compared to the SHP group; these differences reached statistical significance at 2 months (median, 30 [interquartile range (IQR), 0.00-30] vs median, 45 [IQR, 30-90]; P = .046) and 3 months (median, 0.00 [IQR, 0.00-30] vs median, 30 [IQR, 0.00-67.5]; P = .016) post procedure, respectively.
LIMITATIONS: The study follow-up period is limited to 6 months only.
CONCLUSIONS: SHP-N combined with PRF of the sacral roots (S2, 3, 4) provided a better analgesic effect than SHP-N alone for patients with chronic pelvic and perineal pain related to pelvic cancer.
TRIAL REGISTRY: ClinicalTrials.gov. NCT03228316.
KEY WORDS: Pelvic pain, pulsed radiofrequency, sacral roots, superior hypogastric plexus