Postoperative pain and fatigue after laparoscopic or conventional colorectal resections
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Background: Conventional colorectal resections are associated with severe postoperative pain and prolonged fatigue. The laparoscopic approach to colorectal tumors may result in less pain as well as less fatigue, and may improve postoperative recovery after colorectal resections.
Methods: Sixty patients were included into a prospective randomized trial to determine the influence of laparoscopic (n= 30) or conventional (n= 30) resection of colorectal tumors on postoperative pain and fatigue. Major endpoints of the study were dose of morphine sulfate during patient-controlled analgesia (PCA), visual analog scale for pain while coughing (VASC), and visual analogue scale for fatigue (VASF). Efficacy of pain medication was assessed by visual analogue score at rest (VASR).
Results: Preoperative age, sex, stage, and localization of tumors were comparable in both groups. The PCA dose of morphine given immediately after surgery until postoperative day 4 was higher in the conventional group (median, 1.37 mg/kg; 5–95 percentile 0.71–2.46 mg/kg) than the laparoscopic group (0.78 mg/kg; 0.24–2.38 mg/kg, p < 0.01). Postoperative VASR was comparable between both groups, but VASC was higher from the first to the seventh postoperative day (p < 0.01). Postoperative fatigue was higher after conventional than after laparoscopic surgery from the second to the seventh day (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: This study confirms that analgetic requirements are lower and pain is less intense after laparoscopic than after conventional colorectal resection. Patients also experience less fatigue after minimal invasive surgery. Because of these differences, the duration of recovery is shortened, and the postoperative quality of life is improved after laparoscopic colorectal resections.
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