In recent years, there has been considerable growth in the use of imaging to understand, define, and-to a lesser extent, treat-neuropathic pain. This review seeks to summarize the newfound focus on neuroimaging and to put this research in the context of the existing definitions of neuropathic pain and the pain matrix. The research described herein is leading to an expanded definition of neuropathic pain at a time when some in the scientific community have sought to narrow the definition. The research also is helping us understand the role of central neural systems in the development, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic neuropathic pain. However, much of this early research on imaging has been based on relatively small studies and/or heterogenous patient populations, suggesting that further research needs to be done to validate them.
Relationship Disclosure: Dr Barad has nothing to disclose. Dr Greicius has received personal compensation from Forest Laboratories, Inc., for serving on a patient safety monitoring panel. Dr Mackey has received personal compensation from Pfizer Inc for serving as a consultant and speaker.
Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Drs Barad, Greicius, and Mackey have nothing to disclose.