Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Sympathetic Dystrophy Underlying Cause

The cause for reflex sympathetic dystrophy is unknown. The nerves that supply the painful area seem to cause the blood vessels to spasm. This causes decreased blood supply to the tissue, resulting in pain, numbness, and swelling. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy tends to occur after an injury or surgery to soft tissue or bones.

Last Updated: Jun 16, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Sympathetic Dystrophy References
  1. Pham T, Lafforgue P. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome and neuromediators. Joint Bone Spine. 2003 Feb;70(1):12-7. [12639612]
  2. Teasdall RD, Smith BP, Koman LA. Complex regional pain syndrome (reflex sympathetic dystrophy). Clin Sports Med. 2004 Jan;23(1):145-55. [15062588]
  3. Turner-Stokes L. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy--a complex regional pain syndrome. Disabil Rehabil. 2002 Dec 15;24(18):939-47. [12523947]
  4. Zyluk A. Scoring system in the assessment of the clinical severity of reflex sympathetic dystrophy of the hand. Hand Clin. 2003 Aug;19(3):517-21, xi. [12945650]
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