New Way to Ease Pain of Gallbladder Removal

Cox-2 inhibitors also cut down on complications after surgery

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WEDNESDAY, June 2, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- People who received anti-inflammatory drugs called cox-2 inhibitors before and after laparoscopic surgery to remove their gallbladder had less pain and fewer postoperative complications and returned to their normal activities sooner, says a Duke University Medical Center study.

The study in the June issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia found that giving cox-2 inhibitors to these patients reduced the amount of opiates needed to control their pain and also reduced the patients' postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV).

Researchers followed 276 people who had minimally invasive laparoscopic gallbladder removal. Some received intravenous cox-2 inhibitors before their surgery and then in pill form for seven days after their surgery. Others received a placebo.

Nearly a third of the patients receiving the cox-2 inhibitors resumed normal to light activity a day after surgery, compared to 7 percent of those in the placebo group. More than 50 percent of those taking cox-2 inhibitors were back to their normal activities by the second day after surgery, compared with 36 percent of those on placebo.

"Ten to 15 years ago, this was an open procedure that required three or four days of recuperation in the hospital," study leader and anesthesiologist Dr. Tong Joo Gan said in a prepared statement.

"Now, with laparoscopic surgery, patients can go home the same day as surgery. With the growing popularity of minimally invasive surgery, the onus is on us as anesthesiologists to come up with ways to better control pain and reduce the incidence of PONV so patients can go home comfortably after their surgery," Gan said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about laparoscopic gallbladder removal.

SOURCE: Duke University Medical Center, news release, June 2, 2004

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