Spinal anesthesia could be causing post-operative pain among patients

Claire Wallace -  

Patients who receive spinal anesthesia for hip fractures need more painkillers following procedures, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine June 14. 

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia looked at 1,600 patients with hip fracture surgeries between 2016 to 2021, with half of the patients having spinal anesthesia and half having general anesthetic. 

They were asked to rate their pain on a scale from 1 to 10 during several points in the hip procedure. On average, patients with spinal anesthesia rated their pain at a 7.9 the day after surgery, and general anesthesia patients rated their pain a 7.6

Two months after the procedure, patients with spinal anesthesia were 33 percent more likely to still be using prescription pain medication. 

“In our study, patients who got spinal anesthesia did get fewer opioids in the operating room, but they ended up having more pain, and more prescription pain medication use after surgery,” lead author Mark Neuman, MD, an associate professor of Anesthesiology and past chair of the Penn Medicine Opioid Task Force, said in a video feature for the study.

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