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Knee News

How to Reduce Pain and Narcotic Use after Knee Arthroscopy

Doctors at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City are studying ways to reduce pain after arthroscopic surgery of the knee. Arthroscopic surgery is less invasive than open surgery. That means less pain and faster recovery. Even so, there is still pain after knee arthroscopy. Some patients don't get enough help with pain control early in recovery.

In this study, doctors used rofecoxib (Vioxx®, an anti-inflammatory medicine) given one time before the operation. The hope was to reduce pain after surgery. They also wanted to help patients avoid taking narcotic drugs. They thought patients might even have a faster recovery after the operation.

They were right on all counts. According to the authors, patients getting Vioxx had much lower pain scores after the operation. Pain was less when measured eight and 24 hours later. This is important, because patients are usually home by this time. They don't have a nurse or doctor to help with the pain.

Records showed there was also much less use of narcotic drugs during the first 24 hours. This is good because narcotics cause nausea and vomiting in many patients. The authors say that patients can get back to daily activities faster when they don't use narcotics.

This report shows that a pre-emptive strike against pain works well for arthroscopic surgery. The idea is to gain control of pain before the patient leaves the hospital.


Doron I. Ilan, MD, et al. Efficacy of Rofecoxib for Pain Control after Knee Arthroscopy: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blinded Clinical Trial. In The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery. October 2004. Vol. 20. No. 8. Pp. 813-818.

12/14/2004

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