Prospective, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled comparison of local anesthetic and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for postoperative pain management after laparoscopic surgery

William Newcomb, Amy Lincourt, William Hope, Thomas Schmelzer, Ronald Sing, Kent Kercher, B Todd Heniford
American Surgeon 2007, 73 (6): 618-24; discussion 624-5
Compared with the open approach, laparoscopy has been shown to significantly reduce postoperative pain. Improving postoperative analgesia in laparoscopic surgery is an area of continued interest. The goal of this study was to compare the efficacy of local anesthetic infiltration with or without preoperative nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Patients undergoing elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy were enrolled in an Institutional Review Board-approved, prospective, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled comparison study. Patients were randomized into four groups: Group I, preoperative oral administration of a placebo medication and preincision local infiltration of 40 mL of 0.5 per cent bupivicaine at trocar sites; Group II, preoperative oral administration of 50 mg of rofecoxib; Group III, preoperative oral administration of 50 mg of rofecoxib and preincision local infiltration of 40 mL of 0.5 per cent bupivicaine into skin, muscle, and peritoneum; and Group IV, preoperative oral administration of a placebo medication. Postoperative pain scores were assessed at 4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours using a visual analog scale. Postoperative analgesic use, complications, and length of stay were recorded. Statistical significance was defined as P < 0.05. Fifty-five patients (46 women and 9 men) were enrolled in this study and underwent a standardized, elective, laparoscopic cholecystectomy for mild, symptomatic cholelithiasis (96.4%) and gallbladder polyps (3.6%). No patient had pain immediately before surgery. Postoperative analgesic requests, visual analog scale results, incidence of postoperative vomiting at 4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours, in addition to length of stay, were not statistically different between the four groups. No complications occurred. The use of preoperative rofecoxib, 0.5 per cent bupivicaine infiltration, or both for postoperative analgesia did not decrease postoperative pain or decrease length of stay after laparoscopic cholecystectomy compared with placebo. Preoperative administration of an oral anti-inflammatory pain medication, infiltration of a local anesthetic, or both had no greater effect than placebo in controlling discomfort after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The challenge of preempting postoperative pain continues and will require further investigation.

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