Minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons can combat the opioid epidemic by devising creative, multimodal approaches to analgesia, according to the authors of an extensive narrative review.
Acetaminophen, NSAIDs, antiepileptics, and local anesthetic incision infiltration all significantly reduce postoperative pain, as does reducing laparoscopic trocar size to less than 10 mm and evacuating pneumoperitoneum at the end of a case, reported Marron Wong, MD, of Newton (Mass.)-Wellesley Hospital and her associates.
“In the midst of the opioid crisis currently affecting the United States, we believe that it is imperative for [minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons] to use these available tools,” Dr. Wong and her associates wrote in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology.
The experts reviewed studies identified through PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Database. They focused on randomized controlled trials and highlighted the role of multimodal approaches. “Reasonable evidence” supports the preemptive and postoperative use of NSAIDs and acetaminophen, as well as the preemptive use of gabapentin, pregabalin and dexamethasone, they concluded ().
Preemptive liposomal bupivacaine also is promising, the reviewers said. In a randomized controlled trial, transverse abdominis plane (TAP) infiltration with liposomal bupivacaine was associated with significant and clinically meaningful reductions in pain, morphine use, and postoperative nausea and vomiting, compared with transverse abdominis plane infiltration with regular bupivacaine ().
“Local infiltration [also] has been shown to decrease pain as well as opioid intake,” the reviewers wrote. “Pre-closure infiltration has been shown to have more effect than pre-incisional dosing.” Bupivicaine has a longer duration of action (120-240 minutes) than lidocaine (30-60 minutes), which can be extended further by adding epinephrine, they noted.
The adverse effects of alpha-2 agonists (bradycardia and hypotension) and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonists (vivid dreams, hallucination, emergence confusion) limit their use, the reviewers found.
Another recent systematic review drew similar conclusions, recommending NSAIDs, acetaminophen, anti-epileptics, and dexamethasone for nonopioid pain management in benign minimally invasive hysterectomy (). That review found no positive results for local anesthesia, suggesting that the benefits of local anesthesia are limited to minor procedures, Dr. Wong and her associates noted.
The authors reported having no financial disclosures.