Continuous anesthetic wound infusion may reduce postoperative pain in head and neck cancer: JAMA
According to recent research, investigators have found out that postoperative treatment with continuous anesthetic wound infusion was associated with lower pain and improved the quality of life in patients undergoing head and neck surgery.
The study is published in the JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery.
Up to 80% of patients with head and neck cancer undergoing ablative surgery and neck dissection develop postoperative pain with detrimental effects on quality of life that also contributes to neuropathic and chronic postoperative pain.
Hence, Magdalena Gostian and colleagues from the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital of Cologne, Cologne, Germany carried out this study to investigate the association of continuous local anesthetic wound infusion with pain management after head and neck surgery.
The authors carried out prospective, longitudinal, nonrandomized clinical study which included 2 groups of 30 patients. Patients were consecutively enrolled and presented for ablative head and neck surgery including selective neck dissection and studied from the preoperative through the fourth postoperative day.
The control group was treated according to a standardized escalating oral treatment protocol (ibuprofen, metamizole, opioids). The intervention group was treated with an intraoperatively applied pain catheter (InfiltraLong plus FuserPump, Pajunk, ropivacaine, 0.2%, 3 mL/h) that was removed 72 hours after operating.
Average and maximum pain intensities on a numeric rating scale; quality of life using the acute version of the validated 36-Item Short Form Survey; and neuropathic pain using the validated 12-Item painDETECT questionnaire. Consumption of opioid and nonopioid analgesics and evaluation of catheter-associated complications.
The following results were highlighted-
a. During postoperative days 1 through 4, patients of the intervention group (mean [SD] age, 63.2 [13.3 years; 9 [30%] women) experienced lower mean (SD) (1.6 [1.4] vs 2.7 [1.8]; η2p = 0.09 [0.01-0.21]) and maximum (2.4 [2.2] vs 4.2 [2.0]; η2p = 0.11 [0.01-0.24]) pain intensities compared with the control group (mean [SD] age, 62.5 [13.6] years; 5 [17%] women).
b. The intervention group also reported less neuropathic pain (mean [SD], 5.4 [3.4] vs 7.6 [5.1]; η2p = 0.09 [0.004 – 0.22]) and higher quality of life regarding vitality (56.2 [21.5] vs 43.8 [20.9], r = 0.29; 95% CI, 0.01-0.52) and pain (66.8 [27.3] vs 49.5 [27.7], r = 0.31; 95% CI, 0.04-0.54).
c. Patients from the intervention group requested nonopioid analgesics considerably less often (n = 17 [57% ]vs n = 29 [97%]; ϕ = 0.47; 95% CI, 0.30-0.67) associated with a noticeably lower need to escalate pain treatment (n = 3 [10%] vs n = 9 [30%]; mean [SD] ibuprofen dose: 500  mg vs 1133  mg; r = 0.64; 95% CI, 0.02-0.91).
d. No catheter-associated complications were observed.
Therefore, the authors concluded that "Continuous anesthetic wound infusion is associated with reduced postoperative pain and decreased demand for analgesics. It therefore expands the treatment options for postoperative pain in head and neck cancer."