Optimal pain regiment following outpatient ACL reconstruction: 5 study insights


Thomas Jefferson University researchers in Philadelphia sought to identify the optimal pain management regiment for patients undergoing outpatient anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Their findings were published in the September issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

The ideal approach will reduce pain, minimize opioid consumption, maximize recovery and improve patient satisfaction, according to the researchers. They reviewed 77 randomized controlled trials on pain control after ACL reconstruction, including studies on regional nerve blocks, intraoperative techniques, oral medications and intramuscular injections.


Here's what you need to know:


1. Regional nerve blocks and intra-articular injections were both effective at providing analgesia for up to 24 hours after an operation.


2. Cryotherapy compression was beneficial in four trials; however, in four separate trials, ice water and room temperature water proved equivalent treatments.


3. Oral gabapentin, zolpidem, ketorolac and ibuprofen all reduced pain, which helped to decrease opioid consumption.


4. Early mobilization also reduced pain symptoms.


5. The researchers conclude that, although these findings provide insight into effective analgesia, additional research is necessary to determine the optimal multimodal pain management approach.


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