Adding an Ice Pack May Reduce Post-Op Pain, Narcotic Use
the MPR take:
Reducing pain after major abdominal surgery may be as easy as applying an ice pack, says a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Cryotherapy, in which ice is applied to surgical wounds, has been previously used for post-op pain after orthopedic, gynecologic, and hernia surgery. In this study, 27 patients were assigned to receive cryotherapy, while 28 patients were assigned to a control group, following abdominal surgery. The group assigned to cryotherapy had significantly lower post-op pain scores compared to the control group. The use of narcotic analgesics was also reduced in the cryotherapy group. The study demonstrates that something as simple as an ice pack can decrease post-op pain and narcotic analgesic use in patients who have undergone major abdominal surgeries.
“We aren't talking about saying to a patient, here is some ice and then cut off all their pain medication. “The idea was to keep patients out of pain but not have them suffer from using too many narcotics,” he said. The researchers recruited 55 patients scheduled for major abdominal operations, mostly to remove cancers of the liver, pancreas, colon and other organs, then randomly assigned them to two groups.
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