Analgesic Treatment after Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: A Critical Assessment of the Evidence


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Abstract

Acute pain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy is complex in nature. The pain pattern does not resemble pain after other laparoscopic procedures, suggesting that analgesic treatment might be procedure specific and multimodal. Randomized trials of analgesia after laparoscopic cholecystectomy were identified by systematic electronic literature searches (1985 to June 2005) supplemented with manual searching. The trials were categorized by well-defined criteria into high, moderate, or poor methodologic quality. Conclusions were based on trials of high and moderate methodologic quality. In total, 64 randomized analgesic trials were identified, comprising a total of 5,018 evaluated patients. The literature suggests a multimodal analgesic regimen consisting of a preoperative single dose of dexamethasone, incisional local anesthetics (at the beginning or at the end of surgery, depending on preference), and continuous treatment with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (or cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors) during the first 3–4 days. Opioids should be used only when other analgesic techniques fail.

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