Obesity is a worldwide problem and has grown in severity in the last few decades making bariatric surgery and, in particular, laparoscopic banding and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass efficacious and cost-effective procedures. The laparoscopic approach has been shown to offer significant healthcare benefits, of particular interests are reports of decreased postoperative pain resulting in a shorter hospital stay and an earlier return to normal activity. However, many patients still experience significant pain, including shoulder tip pain, that require strong analgesia including opiates during their early recovery period. The aims of this study were to establish the safe use of the aerosolization technique in bariatric surgery and to investigate the possible benefits in reducing postoperative pain.
In this study, fifty patients undergoing laparoscopic gastric bypass were recruited and divided into two groups; control (n = 25) and therapeutic (n = 25). The control group received intraperitoneal aerosolization of 10 mL of 0.9% normal saline while the therapeutic group received 10 mL of 0.5% bupivacaine. All the patients had standard preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative care. Pain scores were carried out by the nursing staff in recovery and 6 h, 12 h and 24 h postoperatively using a standard 0–10 pain scoring scale. In addition, opiate consumption via patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) was recorded.
Aerosolized bupivacaine reduced postoperative pain in comparison to normal saline (p < 0.05). However, PCA usage showed no statistically significant change from the control group.