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Regional Anesthesia Replacing General in Hip Surgery

Posted on: 01/13/2006
Pain control during and after hip surgery is the topic of this article. Doctors from the Department of Anesthesiology at Duke University write about current trends in pain management. Their focus is major hip surgery. They also predict what will come in the future to help patients recover faster after hip surgery.

Epidural or spinal anesthesia has replaced general anesthesia for hip operations like total hip replacement (THR). Today doctors have even better tools for pain control and pain management.

They can block nerves now and control a specific area like an arm or a leg instead of putting the entire patient to sleep. This is called regional anesthesia. With a regional there is less blood loss and fewer blood clots in the leg(s).

Severe pain after an operation can keep a patient in the hospital longer. This means a higher cost and lower patient satisfaction. Doctors are working to find ways to use continuous nerve blocks for a few days after the operation.

Patients may even be able to go home with this type of pain control. Effects of the drugs given in the hospital might last up to 96 hours at home. Research for a time-released drug is already underway. Safety remains a concern.

Pier Francesco Indelli, MD, et al. Regional Anesthesia in Hip Surgery. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. December 2005. No. 441. Pp. 250-255.

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