Conference Coverage

Cervical bupivacaine blocks pain after laparoscopic hysterectomy



Injecting the cervix with bupivacaine before laparoscopic hysterectomy significantly reduces postoperative pain, according to a small trial at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

Dr. Steven Radtke, Texas Tech University, El Paso M. Alexander Otto/MDedge News

Dr. Steven Radtke

Twenty-one women were randomized to 0.5% bupivacaine, 5 mL injected into the cervix at the 3 o’clock position, and 5 mL injected into at the 9 o’clock position to a depth of 3 cm, after anesthesia induction but before insertion of the uterine manipulator. A control group of 20 women received 5 mL of 0.9% saline injected into the same positions. Surgeons were blinded to the randomization.

A stopwatch was started at extubation, and the women were asked to rate their pain on a 10-point visual analogue scale exactly at 30 and 60 minutes.

The bupivacaine group had less pain at both 30 minutes (3.2 versus 5.7 points, P = .01) and 60 minutes (2.3 versus 5.9 points, P less than .001); 71% of women in the bupivacaine group had an average score of 4 or less, indicating adequate pain control, versus just 25% in the control arm (P = .003)

“This is something we should be considering” routinely for laparoscopic hysterectomy, an audience member said after hearing the presentation at a meeting sponsored by AAGL.

Another audience member was concerned about urinary retention, but there was no increase in the treatment arm, said lead investigator Steven Radtke, MD, a former ob.gyn. surgery fellow at the university, but now at Texas Tech University, El Paso.

There have been many prior attempts to reduce pain after laparoscopic hysterectomy, such as infiltrating port sites with local anesthetic, but the results have been marginal at best, and almost all of them have focused on the abdominal wall as the source of pain.

The investigators thought that pain was more related to perimetrium dissection, colpotomy, and other parts of the operation. There also have been good studies showing that agents injected into the cervix infuse throughout the area. The team decided to try bupivacaine because it’s inexpensive and has a good duration of action, about 8 hours.

There were no significant demographic or intraoperative differences between the groups. On average, women were in their mid-40s, with a body mass index of about 31 kg/m2. The operations took about 2 hours, and were for benign indications, such as fibroids. Oophorectomy was the only concomitant procedure allowed.

The investigators are interested in repeating their investigation with liposomal bupivacaine (Exparel), which has a duration of action past 24 hours. It’s much more expensive, but the strong trial results justify the cost, Dr. Radtke said.

There was no external funding, and Dr. Radtke didn’t have any disclosures.

SOURCE: Radtke S et al. 2018 AAGL Global Congress, Abstract 130.

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