Background: Fibular donor site pain management in the early postoperative period can help minimize complications, patient discomfort, and agitation. Traditional management of postoperative pain consists of systemic administration of opioids and NSAIDS. The use of local anesthetics in addition to systemic analgesics has the potential to improve pain control. Purpose of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of mini-catheters used to inject local anesthetic into the fibular donor site after flap harvesting for reconstruction of the head-and-neck area. Methods: Prospective study on 31 patients (mean age 52 years) treated for head and neck reconstruction with fibula free flap using minicatheter for local anesthetic injection in the early postoperative time. A bolus of chirochaine (0.125% w/v; 20 mL) was injected through the catheter before the patient regained consciousness. Postoperatively, three consecutive injections (20 mL each) were administered 8, 16, and 24 h after surgery. Pain evaluation before and after local anesthetic injection is used to assess efficacy and overall pain control. Results: No major or minor complication occurred. Mean pain value was 1.69. At 8 h, the pain scores before injection ranged from 0 to 10 (mean 4.13 Â± 3.06). After injection, the pain scores ranged from 0 to 5 (mean 1 Â± 1.34). Similarly, at 16 h, the pain scores ranged from 0 to 8 (mean 2.77 Â± 2.42) before injection and from 0 to 6 (mean 0.42 Â± 1.2) thereafter. At 24 h, the initial pain score ranged from 0 to 6 (mean 1.71 Â± 1.74) and from 0 to 1 (mean 0.1 Â± 0.3) after drug administration. Pre and postinjection pain scores differences were statistically significant after all three injections (P < .001). Conclusions: Minicatheter seems to be easy, safe, and efficient when used to control pain after fibular free-flap harvesting.
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