✓ The goal of this study was to assess the effects of the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) lesioning procedure, microsurgical DREZ-otomy (MDT), on spinal cord somatosensory function based on peri- and intraoperative clinical and electrophysiological data. The study was performed prospectively on a series of 20 patients suffering from either chronic neurogenic pain or spasticity. Physiological observations were made of the intraoperative evoked electrospinographic recordings as collected from the surface of the spinal cord.
The MDT procedure produced analgesia or severe hypalgesia, moderate hypesthesia, and only slight deficits in proprioception and cutaneous spatial discrimination on the body segments operated on. These clinical data correlated well with evoked electrospinographic recordings, which showed a moderate effect of MDT on presynaptic compound action potentials recorded from the spinal cord (N11 and N21), a partial or even reversible effect on the cortical postcentral N20 wave, a more marked effect on the postsynaptic dorsal horn waves N13 and N24 related to large primary afferent fibers, and a disappearance of dorsal horn waves related to finer afferents (N2 and possibly N3). These data provide evidence for an acceptably selective action of MDT on spinal cord nociceptive mechanisms, and for a partial, often slight, involvement of the other somatosensory domains. The presence of abnormal evoked electrospinographic waves is discussed in relation to the mechanisms of neurogenic pain and spasticity. The hypothesis of a “retuning” of the dorsal horn as the mode of action of MDT is presented.