THURSDAY April 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Percutaneous peripheral nerve stimulation reduces acute pain and opioid needs in the week following orthopedic surgery, according to a pilot study published online April 15 in Anesthesiology.
Brian M. Ilfeld, MD, University of California, San Diego, and colleagues evaluated the feasibility and optimal protocol of percutaneous peripheral nerve stimulation for postoperative pain and opioid use. An electrical probe was implanted percutaneously preoperatively to target the sciatic nerve for major foot / ankle surgery, the femoral nerve for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction or the brachial plexus for rotator cuff repair, followed by a single injection of long-acting local anesthetic along the same nerve / plexus. Participants were randomly assigned to 14 days of electrical stimulation (32 patients) or sham stimulation (34 patients) using an external pulse generator.
The researchers found that during the first seven postoperative days, opioid use in participants receiving active stimulation averaged 5 mg compared to 48 mg in patients receiving dummy treatment. The mean pain intensity in patients who received active stimulation averaged 1.1 versus 3.1 in those who received sham in the first seven postoperative days.
“Percutaneous peripheral nerve stimulation reduced pain scores and opioid requirements without systemic side effects for at least the initial week after outpatient orthopedic surgery,” the authors write.
Several authors have revealed financial ties to the medical device industry.
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