Pain Reduction after Breast Surgery

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Jun;125(6):1620-9.

Effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on interleukin-1 beta and postoperative pain: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot study in breast reduction patients.

Rohde C, Chiang A, Adipoju O, Casper D, Pilla AA.

Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY 10032, USA. chr2111@columbia.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Surgeons seek new methods of pain control to reduce side effects and speed postoperative recovery. Pulsed electromagnetic fields are effective for bone and wound repair and pain and edema reduction. This study examined whether the effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields on postoperative pain was associated with differences in levels of cytokines and angiogenic factors in the wound bed.

METHODS: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, 24 patients, undergoing breast reduction for symptomatic macromastia received pulsed electromagnetic field therapy configured to modulate the calmodulin-dependent nitric oxide signaling pathway. Pain levels were measured by a visual analogue scale, and narcotic use was recorded. Wound exudates were analyzed for interleukin (IL)-1 beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, vascular endothelial growth factor, and fibroblast growth factor-2.

RESULTS: Pulsed electromagnetic fields produced a 57 percent decrease in mean pain scores at 1 hour (p < 0.01) and a 300 percent decrease at 5 hours (p < 0.001), persisting to 48 hours postoperatively in the active versus the control group, along with a concomitant 2.2-fold reduction in narcotic use in active patients (p = 0.002). Mean IL-1 beta concentration in the wound exudates of treated patients was 275 percent lower (p < 0.001). There were no significant differences found for tumor necrosis factor-alpha, vascular endothelial growth factor, or fibroblast growth factor-2 concentrations.

CONCLUSIONS: Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy significantly reduced postoperative pain and narcotic use in the immediate postoperative period. The reduction of IL-1 beta in the wound exudate supports a mechanism that may involve manipulation of the dynamics of endogenous IL-1 beta in the wound bed by means of a pulsed electromagnetic field effect on nitric oxide signaling, which could impact the speed and quality of wound repair.

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2008 Jul;32(4):660-6. Epub 2008 May 28.

Effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on postoperative pain: a double-blind randomized pilot study in breast augmentation patients.

Hedén P, Pilla AA.

Department of Plastic Surgery, Akademikliniken, Storängsvägen 10, 115 42, Stockholm, Sweden. per.heden@ak.se

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Postoperative pain may be experienced after breast augmentation surgery despite advances in surgical techniques which minimize trauma. The use of pharmacologic analgesics and narcotics may have undesirable side effects that can add to patient morbidity. This study reports the use of a portable and disposable noninvasive pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) device in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study. This study was undertaken to determine if PEMF could provide pain control after breast augmentation.

METHODS: Forty-two healthy females undergoing breast augmentation for aesthetic reasons entered the study. They were separated into three cohorts, one group (n = 14) received bilateral PEMF treatment, the second group (n = 14) received bilateral sham devices, and in the third group (n = 14) one of the breasts had an active device and the other a sham device. A total of 80 breasts were available for final analysis. Postoperative pain data were obtained using a visual analog scale (VAS) and pain recordings were obtained twice daily through postoperative day (POD) 7. Postoperative analgesic medication use was also followed.

RESULTS: VAS data showed that pain had decreased in the active cohort by nearly a factor of three times that for the sham cohort by POD 3 (p < 0.001), and persisted at this level to POD 7. Patient use of postoperative pain medication correspondingly also decreased nearly three times faster in the active versus the sham cohorts by POD 3 (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, adjunctive to standard of care, can provide pain control with a noninvasive modality and reduce morbidity due to pain medication after breast augmentation surgery.

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