New Technique Reduces Post-Surgery Pain in Children

CHOC Children’s researchers have identified a new technique that significantly decreases pain and the need for pain medication in children following high-risk urology surgeries, a finding that was recently published in the “Journal of Pediatric Urology.”_MG_7464_1

“While pain management is a fundamental part of pediatric surgical recovery and care for pediatric patients, current options involve strong prescription painkillers that can put patients at risk for adverse side effects and possible complications,” said Antoine E. Khoury, M.D., urology chief at CHOC Children’s and a study investigator. “This study demonstrates a major advancement in pain management for pediatric urology patients, significantly reducing postoperative pain and the need for pain medicine.”

The research team evaluated the continuous infusion of local anesthesia using a pump pain relief system commonly used in adults to improve pain control in children who have undergone urological procedures. While the ON-Q system is well-established as an effective pain management technique for adults, this is the first study that evaluates its pain management effectiveness in children.

Published in December 2013, the study found that the ON-Q pump system decreased the amount of pain experienced by children on the first and second postoperative days, and that it significantly reduced the need for narcotics.

Because the device delivers the anesthetic in an automatic continuous drip, patients and their caregivers don’t need to adjust the dosage. It is also contained in a pouch, allowing children to move freely during recovery.

During the study, nurses assessed patients’ pain using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and the Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability (FLACC) scale, depending on the child’s age, for both the test group and a control group, which received standard-of-care pain management.

Researchers recommend conducting additional clinical studies to further validate this technique as a superior option for postoperative pain management in children undergoing surgery.

In addition to Dr. Khoury, authors for the research study, “Application of continuous incisional infusion of local anesthetic after major pediatric urological surgery,” include Guy Hidas, Hak J. Lee, Blake Watts, Maryellen Pribish, Edwin T. Tan and Zeev N. Kain.