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Caesarean Section: Local Anaesthetic Reduces Need For Painkillers Post-Op

Giving a local anaesthetic during a Caesarean section helps manage pain after the operation and can reduce consumption of painkillers, according to Cochrane Researchers. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 11:28 am EDT
"This review is particularly important in light of the growing number of women giving birth by Caesarean section"

Giving a local anaesthetic during a Caesarean section helps manage pain after the operation and can reduce consumption of painkillers, according to Cochrane Researchers. The researchers recommend local anaesthetics as part of integrated pain management strategies for Caesarean section operations, provided that consideration is given to the cost.

“This review is particularly important in light of the growing number of women giving birth by Caesarean section,” says lead researcher, Anthony Bamigboye, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. “Improved pain relief allows mothers to bond with their babies and begin breastfeeding more quickly.”

Caesarean sections account for around a quarter of all births in the US, Canada and the UK. Local anaesthetics can be given, in addition to general or regional anaesthetics, to help manage pain during and after operations. The anaesthetic is either injected to block nerves in the abdominal wall or applied directly to the wound as an anaesthetic solution.

The researchers reviewed data from 20 studies that together involved 1,150 women who gave birth by Caesarean section in both developing and developed countries. They found that women treated with local anaesthetic as well as local or regional anaesthesia did not require as much morphine or other opioid drugs for pain relief after their operations. When non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were also given, pain was reduced further.

One concern, however, is the additional cost of giving local anaesthetic. “None of the trials in this review addressed the cost implications of increasing use of local anaesthetic,” says Bamigboye. “A cost benefit analysis is needed to find out whether increased expenditure on theatre time and local anaesthetic can be offset by reductions in postoperative painkillers.”


Additional Information

Full citation: Bamigboye AA, Hofmeyr GJ. Local anaesthetic wound infiltration and abdominal nerves block during caesarean section for postoperative pain relief. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD006954. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006954.pub2.

Link to study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006954.pub2/abstract

About Journal

Cochrane is a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers, and people interested in health.
Cochrane produces reviews which study all of the best available evidence generated through research and make it easier to inform decisions about health. These are called systematic reviews.
Cochrane is a not-for-profit organization with collaborators from more than 130 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Our work is recognized as representing an international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

About Wiley

Wiley, a global company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.


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Contact:

Dawn Peters
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sciencenewsroom@wiley.com

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