THURSDAY, Aug. 30, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- A technique that delivers local anesthetic directly to the surgical wound of colorectal cancer surgery patients helps control postoperative pain and shortens recovery time, a French study says.
The anesthetic is delivered through a special multi-holed catheter that's installed toward the end of the surgery.
The study of 42 patients found that those who received "continuous wound infusion" with the local anesthetic ropivacaine for 48 hours after surgery had significantly lower pain scores and required less morphine to control pain than patients who received a placebo.
The patients in the ropivacaine group also had better quality of sleep during the first two nights after surgery, and their bowel function returned to normal an average of one day earlier than those in the placebo group. Patients cannot leave hospital before resumption of normal bowel function.
The average hospital stay for patients in the ropivacaine group was five days, compared to more than six days for patients in the placebo group.
"This method offers a new way to efficiently and simply manage pain after major abdominal surgery," study author Dr. Marc Beaussier, of St.-Antoine University Hospital, Paris, said in a prepared statement.
"This technique is simple, efficient and safe," Beaussier said. "It does not need specific supervision and could be proposed to almost all patients."
The study was published in the September issue of Anesthesiology.
The American Cancer Society has more about colorectal cancer.