Postoperative pain with detrimental effects on quality of life is common in patients with head and neck cancer who undergo ablative surgery and neck dissection. Additionally, these symptoms also contribute to chronic postoperative and neuropathic pain. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of continuous local wound infusion on postoperative pain.
This non-randomized, longitudinal, and postoperative clinical trial included a total of 60 patients with head and neck cancer who underwent ablative head and neck surgery. The patients were assigned to receive intraoperatively applied pain caterer, and the control group was treated with standard ibuprofen, metamizole, and opioids.
During the first four days after the operation, patients in the intervention group experienced lower mean and maximum pain intensities compared with the control group. In addition, the intervention group reported less neuropathic pain and higher quality of life regarding pain and vitality. Patients in the intervention group requested fewer nonopioid analgesics compared to the control group and were also associated with a lower need to escalate pain treatment.
The research concluded that continuous anesthetic wound infusion was associated with lower postoperative pain and a better quality of life in patients who underwent ablative surgery for head and neck cancer.