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Liposomal Bupivacaine Promising Option in Knee Replacment

Might ease pain while maintaining mobility, but more research is needed

TUESDAY, Dec. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Injecting liposomal bupivacaine into the tissue surrounding the knee helps patients undergoing knee replacement recover more quickly and boosts their satisfaction with the procedure. These findings were presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, held from Nov. 5 to 8 Dallas.

The study involved 216 patients who underwent knee replacement surgery and were then tracked for pain control during the first two days after their procedure. Half of the patients received traditional pain control with continuous femoral nerve blockade. Although this method can cause leg weakness, it prolongs pain control for two days after surgery, the researchers said. The rest of the patients received the liposomal bupivacaine injection, targeted to the site of their surgery.

Unlike the traditional pain control method, the administration of liposomal bupivacaine enabled patients to begin walking comfortably just hours after surgery, the researchers found.

This technique "optimizes pain control early on," senior author Jason Davis, M.D., a joint replacement surgeon at the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, said in a hospital news release. "Function-wise, it was a lot easier for patients to move around more confidently. In the past decade, we've made major advancements in pain control for knee replacement surgery. This option is a promising, viable one for our patients."

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