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Role of Intraoperative Coeliac Plexus Neurolysis on Postoperative Pain Management for Chronic Pancreatitis

Mymensingh Med J. 2023 Jan;32(1):90-95.


Control of pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis is difficult because 30.0% to 50.0% of patients still experience persistence or recurrence of pain even after surgery. So a combined approach of surgery and coeliac plexus neurolysis was carried out in this study to see the relief of pain and reduce the requirement of analgesics in these patients. This prospective observational comparative study was carried out in the Department of Hepatobiliary, Pancreatic and Liver Transplant Surgery in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka, Bangladesh from November 2017 to October 2018. Forty one (41) study participants with the diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis were included consecutively in this study. The participants were divided into two groups. Group I (n=18) underwent pancreatic surgery with coeliac plexus neurolysis by infiltration of 20ml of 100% alcohol in the loose areolar tissue 10ml each into right and left para-aortic space at the level of coeliac trunk and Group II (n=23) underwent pancreatic surgery only. Participants’ preoperative data were collected from patient record file. Number, frequency and intensity of pain and requirement of amount of analgesics for the last 3 months were recorded from patients’ history. The intensity of pain was categorized by visual analog scale (VAS) preoperatively. The participants of both groups were followed up at 1, 2 and 3 months interval and asked for disappearance or reduction of pain, frequency of attack and requirement of analgesics. Again visual analog scale was used for categorization of pain. Pain free period was recorded after the end of follow up period. Pain reduction occurred after surgery in both groups. But when pain relief was compared on the basis of VAS (Visual Analogue Scale), it was significantly better in Group I after 1 month of surgery than Group II (p=0.05). But 2 and 3 months after surgery this difference became insignificant (p=0.246 and 0.264). No statistical difference was found in terms of analgesic usage, severe acute attack or hospital admission (p=0.511, 0.439 and 0.495) at the end of 3 months follow up. Participants in Group I had significantly longer pain free period than Group II (p=0.025). Regarding complications, postural hypotension developed in 5.6% (1) patients. Diarrhea developed in 11.1% (2) patients in Group I and wound infection developed in 2 patients in each groups respectively. No patients developed any major complications like anastomotic leakage, deep or organ or space infection. Intraoperative coeliac plexus neurolysis reduces pain immediately after surgery and provides longer pain free period in patients with chronic pancreatitis after surgery.


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