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Intraoperative bupivacaine for reduction of post-tonsillectomy pain: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of 26 patients

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September 1, 2009
by Tammara L. Watts, MD, PhD and Stilianos E. Kountakis, MD, PhD


We conducted a randomized, controlled, double-blind, prospective study to evaluate the effect of intraoperative bupivacaine injection on postoperative pain control following Bovie cautery-assisted tonsillectomy in 26 adults. Sixteen patients were injected with 10 ml of 0.5% bupivacaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine, and 10 were injected with 10 ml of normal saline solution. For 10 days after surgery, patients completed a questionnaire to rate their overall pain and to record their narcotic consumption and oral intake. At study's end, there was no statistically significant difference in pain scores, narcotic use, and oral intake between the bupivacaine group and the controls (p = 0.13, 0.37, and 0.35, respectively). We conclude that the effects of perioperative bupivacaine on postoperative pain control in tonsillectomy patients are similar to those of placebo.

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