Lidocaine During Mastectomy May Reduce Long-Term Pain

(HealthDay News) — Lidocaine given to women undergoing mastectomy reduces their risk of persistent pain after the procedure, according to a new study. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), held from October 11–15 in New Orleans.

The study included 61 mastectomy patients who were divided into two groups. Some received intravenous lidocaine during surgery and for up to two hours after their operation, while others were given a placebo.

Six months after surgery, 12% of those in the lidocaine group and 30% of those in the placebo group had developed chronic pain. Lidocaine was associated with a 20-fold decrease in post-mastectomy pain. However, lidocaine was less effective among women who had breast implants or received radiation therapy. The risk of post-mastectomy pain was 16 times higher among those with breast implants and 29 times higher among those who received radiation therapy, even if they received lidocaine.

“Our study demonstrates the potential long-term protective effects of lidocaine. However, additional studies are needed to assess the effect of lidocaine treatment a year or more after mastectomy, as well as the effect it has on daily activity, mental health, and depression in these patients,” lead author Mohamed Tiouririne, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of Virginia, said in an ASA news release.

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