Preemptive Pain Control in Patients Having Laparoscopic Hernia Repair: A Comparison of Ketorolac and Ibuprofen

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To determine if nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs provide adequate pain control for patients having laparoscopic hernia repair and to compare the effectiveness of ketorolac tromethamine with ibuprofen in reducing postoperative laparoscopic hernia pain.

Design and Setting

Prospective double-blind randomized study at a 100-bed community hospital.


Seventy patients ranging in age from 16 to 83 years scheduled for elective laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair.


Patients undergoing laparoscopic hernia repair were enrolled in a double-blind randomized study to compare the 2 treatments. Group 1 received a placebo capsule 1 hour before surgery and ketorolac tromethamine, 60 mg intravenously, at the time of trocar insertion. Group 2 received ibuprofen, 800 mg an hour before surgery, and isotonic sodium chloride solution, 2 mL intravenously, at the time of trocar insertion. In addition, all patients received local infiltration of 30 mL of bupivacaine hydrochloride into their trocar sites. All patients were discharged within 5 hours of the operation and were instructed to take 400 mg of ibuprofen orally every 4 hours for 24 hours whether or not they were experiencing pain. A 24-hour supply of ibuprofen was provided to all study patients. Pain was assessed using the Visual Analog Pain Scale with a maximum pain rating of 100. Assessments were done at the time of and 18 hours after discharge.

Main Outcome Measure

Postoperative pain 18 and 24 hours after discharge was assessed using a standardized questionnaire in a telephone interview by a registered nurse from the Outpatient Surgical Unit.


There was no significant difference in the level of pain experienced by 35 patients who received ketorolac intravenously and 35 who received ibuprofen orally. There was no significant difference between the 2 treatment groups in the amount of pain experienced at discharge and 18 hours after discharge.


Pain relief from ibuprofen, 800 mg, administered orally an hour before laparoscopic hernia repair was not statistically different from that obtained with intravenous ketorolac, 60 mg, administered intraoperatively when comparing the hospital discharge pain score and the mean and highest pain scores 18 hours after discharge. Ibuprofen offers equivalent pain control at a lower cost and reduced potential for adverse drug events compared with intravenous ketorolac in patients having laparoscopic hernia repair. No patient required narcotic supplementation, and pain control was judged satisfactory by all the patients.

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