International Orthopaedics

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 229–233 | Cite as

Microcurrent skin patches for postoperative pain control in total knee arthroplasty: a pilot study

A pilot study
  • T. El-Husseini
  • S. El-Kawy
  • H. ShalabyEmail author
  • M. El-Sebai
Original Paper


Pain control following painful orthopaedic procedures such as total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is an ongoing challenge, as current pain management techniques often result in under-medication and/or complications. In a study designed to test the effect of the micro-current skin patch (MCT) on pain relief in patients following TKA, we followed 24 patients, randomly divided into two groups, one group receiving MCT plus tramadol hydrochloride (tramadol) for pain relief and a control group receiving only tramadol, for 10 days postoperatively. Tramadol was given intramuscularly in increment doses of 100 mg, as needed, for the duration of the study period. Pain was assessed daily using a visual analogue score (VAS). Other parameters, including the effect of MCT on the dose of tramadol needed for pain relief, the degree of wound healing measured at the end of the follow-up period, category of the wound 10 days postoperatively (1, 2 or 3) and total drain fluid volume, were also assessed. During the 10-day postoperative period there was a progressive decrease in pain in patients of both groups, however the patients of the MCT group showed a consistently lower VAS throughout the observation period, most markedly on those follow-up days with the highest pain scores in patients of the control group. This effect was monitored on the basis of the average dose of tramadol administered per day: 200.0±7.0 mg/day in the control group and 63.3±15.8 mg/day in the MCT group. Wound healing was better with the application of the MCT patch: grade 1 wounds were observed in 50% of the patients of the MCT group as compared to 8.3% in control group. The total drain volume was lower in patients of the MCT group compared to the controls (1020.8±211.6 and 1170.8±243.5 ml, respectively). None of the patients indicated that they wished to discontinue MCT therapy. This pilot study shows that MCT therapy led to better pain control with a markedly lower need for tramadol as compared to the control group. This better pain control was accompanied by a better healing of the wound and a lower drain volume.


Pain Relief Total Knee Arthroplasty Tramadol Suture Line Visual Analogue Score 
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Le contrôle de la douleur après une intervention de chirurgie orthopédique (prothèse totale de genou) doit être prise en charge. Cette étude pilote inclut 24 patients qui ont bénéficié d’une prothèse totale. Les patients ont été divisés en deux groupes : un groupe de 12 patients chacun. Le groupe 1 était traité par un patch MCT de tramadol hydrochloride SOS (groupe MCT). Le groupe 2 a reçu du tramadol hydrochloride SOS sans utilisation du patch et a servi de groupe contrôle. Les deux groupes ont reçu du tramadol intraveineux la dose de 100 mg pendant les 10 jours postopératoires. La douleur a été analysée par une échelle analogique (VAS). D’autres facteurs ont été étudiés dont la dose de tramadol, le degré de cicatrisation et le volume des pertes sanguines. Ces résultats montrent une diminution progressive de la douleur. Le groupe MCT a nécessité une utilisation moindre de tramadol que le groupe control (200±7 mg/jour, versus 63.3±15.8 mg/jour). La cicatrisation a été meilleure dans le groupe MCT de même que le volume des pertes sanguines (1020±211.6 et 1170±243.5 dans les deux groupes respectivement). Cette étude montre que l’utilisation d’un patch MCT dans la PTG permet de mieux contrôler la douleur, une meilleure cicatrisation et moins de pertes sanguines.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. El-Husseini
    • 1
  • S. El-Kawy
    • 1
  • H. Shalaby
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. El-Sebai
    • 1
  1. 1.Arthroplasty UnitAin Shams UniversityCairoEgypt
  2. 2.EdinburghUK

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