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Postoperative Analgesia After Wound Infiltration With Tramadol and Dexmedetomidine as an Adjuvant to Ropivacaine for Lumbar Discectomies: A Randomized-controlled Clinical Trial

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Crippling postoperative pain linked with lumbar discectomies not only shackles patient’s normal daily activities but also lengthens their hospital stay. So, allaying postoperative pain in these patients has become a substantive component in neuroanesthesia to expedite neurological recovery. Wound infiltration with local anesthetics is widely used to optimize postoperative pain. Different adjuvants like dexmedetomidine and tramadol when added to local anesthetics prolongs postoperative analgesia. The aim of this trial was to evaluate the analgesic efficacy of tramadol and dexmedetomidine when added to ropivacaine for wound infiltration in lumbar discectomies.


This study was prospective, randomized, double-blind, controlled in nature conducted among 45 adult patients belonging to American Society of Anesthesiologists’ physical status 1 and 2, of either sex aged between 30 and 70 years undergoing elective lumbar discectomies. They were randomly allocated into 3 equal groups: group R received 100 mg of 0.5% ropivacaine (20 mL) and 2 mL normal saline, group RT received 100 mg of 0.5% ropivacaine (20 mL) and 2 mg/kg tramadol (2 mL), and group RD received 100 mg of 0.5% ropivacaine (20 mL) and 0.5 μg/kg dexmedetomidine (2 mL) (total volume, 22 mL). Visual analog scale at 0, 2, 4, 6, 12, 18, and 24 hours; time to first rescue analgesia, total supplemental analgesic consumption and side effects (if any) were assessed during first 24 hours postoperatively.


The median time to first rescue analgesia (median; 95% confidence interval [CI]) in group RD was 930 (854.3 to 1005.7) minutes. This was significantly longer (P=0.000) than group RT (420 [366.3 to 473.7] min) or group R (270 [243.2 to 296.8] min). Postoperative diclofenac consumed (median [interquartile range]) was 150 (150 to 200) mg in group R, 150 (75 to 150) mg in group RT and 75 (75 to 150) mg in group RD (P=0.008). Significant differences in mean visual analog scale scores were observed among the 3 groups at hours 0 (P=0.033), 2 (P=0.001), 4 (P=0.000), 6 (P=0.001), and 24 (P=0.013). No statistical significant side effects could be discerned among the groups.


We concluded that wound infiltration with combined ropivacaine and dexmedetomidine found to be significantly superior for postoperative analgesia compared with either combined ropivacaine and tramadol or ropivacaine alone for lumbar discectomies.
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Keywords: lumbar discectomies; postoperative analgesia; wound infiltrations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Anaesthesiology, S.M.S. Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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