Original Article

Postoperative pain in thoracic surgery: re-evaluating the benefits of VATS when coupled with epidural analgesia

Toshiro Obuchi, Yasuhiro Yoshida, Toshihiko Moroga, Naofumi Miyahara, Akinori Iwasaki


Background: In order to evaluate the reduced postoperative pain of complete video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (cVATS), a study was conducted to compare acute postoperative pain between cVATS and open thoracotomy employing continuous epidural analgesia (EA).
Methods: A total of 62 patients, 49 males and 13 females with a mean age of 54.8 years, who had undergone thoracic surgery at our institution from November 2013 to June 2015 were enrolled in this study. We statistically investigated differences in the intensity of postoperative pain between cVATS with or without EA and between cVATS and open thoracotomy under EA. The degree of pain was measured using a visual analog scale, nine times for three days after the surgery.
Results: The mean postoperative pain scores were stronger in the cVATS without EA group than in the group treated with EA at every single observation point, although there were no significant differences. When employing EA, no significant differences were found between cVATS and open thoracotomy.
Conclusions: The use of EA may overshadow the benefits of using cVATS over open thoracotomy.

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