Safe and effective postoperative pain control remains an issue in complex spine surgery. Spinal narcotics have been used for decades but have not become commonplace because of safety or re-dosing concerns. An extended release epidural morphine (EREM) preparation has been used successfully in obstetric, abdominal, thoracic, and extremity surgery done with epidural anesthesia. This has not been studied in open spinal surgery.
Ninety-eight patients having complex posterior lumbar surgery were enrolled in a partially randomized clinical trial (PRCT) of low to moderate doses of EREM. Surgery included levels from L3 to S1 with procedures involving combinations of decompression, instrumented arthrodesis, and interbody grafting. The patients were randomized to receive either 10 or 15 mg of EREM through an epidural catheter placed under direct vision at the conclusion of surgery. Multiple safety measures were employed to prevent or detect respiratory depression. Postoperative pain scores, narcotic utilization, and adverse events were recorded.
There were no significant differences between the two groups as to supplemental narcotic requirements, pain scores, or adverse events. There were no cases of respiratory depression. The epidural narcotic effect persisted from 3 to 36 hours after the injection.
By utilizing appropriate safety measures, EREM can be used safely for postoperative pain control in lumbar surgery patients. As there was no apparent advantage to the use of 15 mg, the lower 10 mg dose should be used.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opioids have been considered the strongest option in clinical practice for the treatment of postoperative pain. However, in this setting, the spinal administration of an opioid drug does not always guarantee selective action and segmental analgesia in the spine due to partial reuptake to blood systemic circulation reaching brain receptors. Recent evidence from experimental studies indicates that bioavailability in the spinal cord biophase is negatively correlated with liposolubility, which is higher for hydrophilic opioids, than for lipophilic ones. Clinical guidelines recommend using a mixture of local anesthetic plus a strong opioid to improve the analgesic effect, minimize adverse effects and improve the overall patient´s satisfaction. Moreover, sometimes an opioid alone, typically morphine, can be administered to provide a long period of postoperative analgesia for 24 h, or even 48 h when an extended release epidural formulation is used. In all cases a vigilance protocol must be recommended to prevent either early or delayed respiratory depression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidural application of morphine has been used for postoperative analgesia following spine surgery but short duration of action of single application limits its widespread use.
One hundred and fifty patients undergoing lumbar laminectomy were randomly allocated to two groups of 75 patients each. Anesthetic technique was standardized in both the groups. In Group I, at the completion of laminectomy, a 5 × 1-cm strip of gelfoam soaked in 5 mg morphine (1 mg/ml) was contoured to be placed in the epidural space whereas, in group II, gelfoam soaked in saline was placed in the epidural space and 5 mg morphine (1mg/ml) was instilled over the intact epidural space. Analgesic consumption for 48 hours, time-of first analgesic request, time of ambulation, time of discharge from post anesthesia care unit (PACU) and hospital and adverse effects were recorded. The data was analyzed using appropriate statistical tests.
Mean analgesic consumption in 48 hours was significantly less in group I (8.47 ± 3.674 mg) as compared to group II (24.80 ± 6.009 mg). Supplemental analgesia was requested at 30.03 ± 6.796 hours in Group I, vs 10.25 ± 2.243 in group II (P < 0.001). Group I patients were discharged earlier from PACU as compared to group II (P < 0.001) though time of discharge from hospital was similar in both the groups. There were no major adverse effects except pruritis, which was observed in 30.6% patients in group I and 37.3% in group II (statistically insignificant (P > 0.01)).
Epidural application of morphine soaked in gelfoam is an effective method for prolonging the postoperative analgesia after spine surgery.
Journal of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology 03/2014; 30(1):46-52. DOI:10.4103/0970-9185.125703
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