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Postlaparotomy pain management: Comparison of patient-controlled analgesia pump alone, with subcutaneous bupivacaine infusion, or with injection of liposomal bupivacaine suspension

Harish M. Yalmanchili, MD, Stephanie N. Buchanan, MD, Lowell W. Chambers, MD, FACS, Jantzen D. Thorns, MD, Nicholas A. McKenzie, MD, Alisha D. Reiss, MD, Maurice P. Page, MD, Victor V. Dizon, DO, FACOS, Sheila E. Brooks, RN, BSN, Lynn E. Shaffer, PhD, Scott T. Lovald, PhD, Thomas H. Hartranft, MD, FACS, Phillip D. Price, MD, FACS


Objective: Efforts to achieve balance between effective pain management and opioid-related adverse events (ORAEs) have led to multimodal analgesia regimens. This study compared opioids delivered via patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) plus liposomal bupivacaine, a long-acting local anesthetic with potential to be an effective component of such regimens, to opioids delivered through PCA alone or PCA plus subcutaneous bupivacaine infusion (ONQ), following laparotomy.

Design: Prospective, randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Single, tertiary-care institution.

Patients: One hundred patients undergoing nonemergent laparotomy.

Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to one of three study treatments: PCA only (PCAO), PCA with ONQ, or PCA with injectable liposomal bupivacaine suspension (EXP).

Main Outcome Measures: Cumulative opioid use, daily mean patient-reported pain scores, and ORAEs through 72 hours postoperatively.

Results: On average, the EXP (n = 31) group exhibited less than 50 percent of the total opioid consumption of the PCAO (n = 36) group, and less than 60 percent of that for the ONQ (n = 33) group. Postoperative days 1 and 3 pain scores were significantly lower for the EXP group as compared to the ONQ and PCAO groups (p 0.005). Fewer patients in the EXP group (19.4 percent) experienced ORAEs compared to the PCAO (41.1 percent) and ONQ (45.5 percent) groups (p = 0.002).

Conclusions: Laparotomy patients treated with liposomal bupivacaine as part of a multimodal regimen consumed less opioids, had lower pain scores, and had fewer ORAEs. The role of liposomal bupivacaine in the postoperative care of laparotomy patients merits further study.


laparotomy, pain, patient-controlled analgesia, liposomal bupivacaine, opioids

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