Year : 2017  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 327-331

Pain relief following thoracic surgical procedures: A literature review of the uncommon techniques

Department of Anesthesia, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Tariq Alzahrani
Department of Anesthesia, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_39_17

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Thoracic surgical procedures can be either thoracotomy or thoracoscopy. In thoracotomy, the incision could be either muscle-cutting or muscle-sparing incision. The posterolateral thoracotomy incision is used for most general thoracic surgical procedures. This incision, which involves division of the latissimus dorsi and serratus anterior muscles, affords excellent exposure of the thoracic cavity. However, it is associated with significant morbidity, including impaired pulmonary function, postoperative chest pain, and restricted arm and shoulder movement. Various muscle-sparing incisions have been proposed to decrease the morbidity. Postthoracotomy pain originates from pleural and muscular damage, costovertebral joint disruption, and intercostal nerve damage during surgery. Inadequate pain relief after surgery affects the quality of patient's recovery and exposes the patients to postoperative morbidities. There is a tendency nowadays among thoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists toward the area of enhanced recovery after thoracic surgery which requires careful titration of the anesthetic drugs in awake patients undergoing thoracoscopic procedures. There is a common feeling among thoracic anesthesiologists that potthoracoscopy procedures produce less pain intensity versus thoracotomy which is partially true. However, effective management of acute pain following either thoracotomy/thoracoscopy is needed and may prevent these complications and reduce the likelihood of developing chronic pain. In this report, we are going to review the newly introduced postthoracotomy/thoracoscopy pain relief modalities with special reference to the new tendency of awake thoracic surgical procedures and its impact on enhanced recovery after surgery.

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