Postherpetic neuralgia PHN

PHN is a common consequence of infection with the herpes zoster virus, with damage to the sensory nerve cells in the dorsal root ganglion. The painful crusted lesions on the skin (on the dermatome corresponding to the infected nerve) heal after several weeks but the site often has persistent abnormal sensation, with light touch producing pain (allo-dynia). Antiviral agents, applied topically or sys-temically during the initial infection, may limit nerve damage and subsequent neuralgia, and early sympathetic blocks may be of benefit, for example stellate ganglion or lumbar sympathetic blocks.

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