High-Dose Ropivacaine Wound Infiltration for Pain Relief After Inguinal Hernia Repair: A Clinical and Pharmacokinetic Evaluation

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Abstract

Background and Objectives.

Early data on ropivacaine, a recently introduced local anesthetic, indicate a longer duration of skin analgesia than with bupivacaine, along with lower toxicity. The objective of this study was to evaluate ropivacaine 7.5 mg/mL for wound infiltration pain relief after hernia surgery, in higher doses than used before, in an open, nonrandomized design.

Methods.

Twenty otherwise healthy men underwent elective unilateral open hernia repair by the same surgeon. General anesthesia was used during surgery, and infiltration of the operating field with 300 mg (n = 10) or 375 mg (n = 10) ropivacaine, 7.5 mg/mL, was employed for postoperative pain relief. Any sign of an adverse event was recorded. Plasma concentrations of ropivacaine were monitored. Pain at rest and on mobilization was regularly assessed over 24 hours by a visual analog scale. Patients' ability to walk and void and the need for supplementary analgesics were recorded.

Results.

No serious adverse effects occurred. Plasma concentrations showed large variations but no toxic levels. No significant differences between the two groups were detected in pain scores which were low in both groups, at rest or on mobilization, or in the consumption of supplementary analgesics. At 4 hours, 19 patients were able to walk. Within 8 hours of surgery, all patients had passed urine without any problem. Wound healing was normal.

Conclusions.

Infiltration of ropivacaine 7.5 mg/mL during hernia surgery can be employed safely in doses of 300 mg and 375 mg to control pain after hernia surgery. The lower dose is recommended, since the higher one did not give any clinically relevant advantages.

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