Intraarticular tramadol-bupivacaine combination prolongs the duration of postoperative analgesia after outpatient arthroscopic knee surgery

Ahed Zeidan, Rida Kassem, Nazih Nahleh, Hilal Maaliki, Mohamad El-Khatib, Michel M R F Struys, Anis Baraka
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2008, 107 (1): 292-9

BACKGROUND: Intraarticular (IA) local anesthetics are often used for the management and prevention of pain after arthroscopic knee surgery. Recently, IA tramadol was also used for the management of these patients. However, the IA combination of local anesthetic and tramadol has not been evaluated in arthroscopic outpatients. Our primary aim in this study was to evaluate the analgesic effect of an IA combination of bupivacaine and tramadol when compared with each drug alone using visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores in patients undergoing day-care arthroscopic knee surgery. Additionally, we assessed analgesic demand.

METHODS: Ninety ASA I/II patients undergoing arthroscopic partial meniscectomy, performed by a single surgeon under general anesthesia, were assigned in a randomized, double-blind manner into three groups: group B (n = 30) received 0.25% bupivacaine, group T (n = 30) received 100 mg tramadol, and group BT (n = 30) received 0.25% bupivacaine and 100 mg tramadol to a total volume of 20 mL by the IA route after surgery. Postoperative pain scores were measured on a VAS, at rest and on mobilization at 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, and 24 h. Duration of analgesia, the subsequent 24 h consumption of rescue analgesia, time to ambulation, and time to discharge were evaluated. In addition, the systemic side effects of the IA injected drugs were also assessed.

RESULTS: The results showed significantly lower VAS pain scores in group BT (P < 0.1) when compared with groups T and B. Group BT had a later onset of postsurgical pain and longer time to first rescue analgesic than groups B and T. The 24 h consumption of analgesic was significantly less in group BT when compared with the other two groups (26.7% of the patients required rescue analgesia in group BT, whereas this number was 90% in group B and 86.7% in group T). In addition, time in hours to discharge and time to unassisted ambulation were significantly shorter in group BT when compared with groups T and B, and this was not associated with any detectable systemic effects.

CONCLUSION: The IA admixture of tramadol 100 mg with bupivacaine 0.25% provides a pronounced prolongation of analgesia compared with either drug alone in patients undergoing day care arthroscopic knee surgery.

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