Scalp infiltration with bupivacaine plus epinephrine or plain ropivacaine reduces postoperative pain after supratentorial craniotomy

Jean-Dominique Law-Koune, Barbara Szekely, Christophe Fermanian, Clarisse Peuch, Ngai Liu, Marc Fischler
Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology 2005, 17 (3): 139-43
Local anesthetic infiltration has been proposed to decrease postoperative pain. The aim of this study was to determine whether scalp infiltration with bupivacaine or ropivacaine would improve analgesia after supratentorial craniotomy for tumor resection. Eighty patients were recruited into a randomized double-blind study. Infiltration was performed after skin closure with 20 mL of saline 0.9% (placebo group, n = 40), of 0.375% bupivacaine with epinephrine 1:200,000 (bupivacaine group, n = 20), or of 0.75% ropivacaine (ropivacaine group, n = 20). Postoperative analgesia was provided with patient-controlled morphine IV analgesia (PCA). The study was continued until PACU discharge, which occurred early in the morning following surgery. Results are reported on 37 patients in the placebo group, 20 in the bupivacaine group, and 19 in the ropivacaine group because 4 patients experienced postoperative complications and were excluded from the study. Morphine titration at arrival in the postanesthesia care unit was necessary more often in the placebo group (62% of the patients) than in the 2 treated groups (19% in each, P = 0.02). The median quantity of morphine administered during the first 2 postoperative hours, including initial titration administered by a nurse and PCA-administered morphine, was lower in each treated group than in the placebo group (P < 0.01). The median morphine consumption up to the 16th postoperative hour was not significantly different among the 3 groups. There was no difference in the visual analogue scale scores among the 3 groups at any time. Scalp infiltration with either bupivacaine or ropivacaine had a statistically significant effect on morphine consumption during the first 2 postoperative hours.

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