Perioperative Pain Control in Pediatric Patients Undergoing Orthopaedic Surgery
Management of perioperative pain is critical in the pediatric patient undergoing orthopaedic surgery. A variety of modalities can be used to manage pain and optimize recovery and patient satisfaction, including nonopioid and opioid analgesia; local anesthetic injection; and regional analgesia such as intrathecal morphine, epidural therapy, and peripheral nerve blocks. Acute pain management can be tailored based on the needs of the patient, the surgical site, and the anticipated level of postoperative pain. A preoperative discussion of the plan for perioperative pain control with the patient, his or her parents, and the anesthesiologist can help manage expectations and maximize patient satisfaction.
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Available from: Peter Robert Martin
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ABSTRACT: Opioids are commonly used for the management of pain in patients with musculoskeletal disorders; however, national attention has highlighted the potential adverse effects of the use of opioid analgesia in this and other nonmalignant pain settings. Chronic opioid users undergoing orthopaedic surgery represent a particularly challenging patient population in regard to their perioperative pain control and outcomes. Preoperative evaluation provides an opportunity to estimate a patient's preoperative opioid intake, discuss pain-related fears, and identify potential psychiatric comorbidities. Patients using high levels of opioids may also require referral to an addiction specialist. Various regional blockade and pharmaceutical options are available to help control perioperative pain, and a multimodal pain management approach may be of particular benefit in chronic opioid users undergoing orthopaedic surgery.
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Clinicians are now appreciating that the perception of pain is a multifaceted, biopsychosocial construct. Expectation of postsurgical pain is part of this construct and should be considered preoperatively. It is our belief that by establishing reasonable expectations with preoperative teaching, we can minimize narcotic use and lessen untoward issues that can potentially follow. With this goal in mind, we have been using a comprehensive pre- and postoperative program for our outpatient orthopedic surgery patients for the last 5 years, which includes physical, pharmacologic, and simple sport psychological techniques.
Materials and methods:
We reviewed postoperative prescription narcotic purchases in 133 consecutive surgical patients during the last year (2013). All patients were given a prescription postoperatively for 10 hydrocodone 5-mg/acetaminophen 500-mg tablets, with 1 refill. We then contacted the patients' pharmacies to assess the actual amount purchased.
Data were available for 100 patients. Of these, 62 patients had undergone "simple" arthroscopies and 38 had had "open" procedures, including 25 anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions, 4 tibial tubercle osteotomies, and various other surgeries. Of the 62 arthroscopies, 24 patients (39%) refilled their prescriptions, with 4 patients (6%) needing > 1 refill. Of the 38 open procedures, 16 patients (42%) refilled their medications, 2 (5%), more than once. Thus, 89% of patients required ≤ 20 narcotic tablets after undergoing common orthopedic operations. No patient needed chronic narcotic medication.
Pain is a complex issue and patient expectation of postoperative pain is one aspect that can potentially affect the amount of narcotics used. By preparing the patient both physically and psychologically, we believe the amount of narcotics used postoperatively can be decreased without affecting pain control. As a result, the multiple possible detriments of having more narcotics available than actually necessary would be lessened. By limiting the overall number of narcotic tablets prescribed, decreased use by the patient when such a medication may no longer be appropriate, and minimized use by others in the household who might have access to it would decrease.
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