An evaluation of epidural analgesia following circumferential belt lipectomy

André Paul Michaud, Richard W. Rosenquist, Albert E. Cram, Al S. Aly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Belt lipectomy combines traditional abdominoplasty with a circumferential excision of skin and fat, with resultant buttock and lateral thigh lifts. Because of the extensive nature of the procedure, postoperative pain management can be difficult. Epidural analgesia has been shown to be efficacious in treating postoperative pain. This study compares the postoperative use of epidural analgesia with more traditional pain management regimens in a large series of belt lipectomy patients. METHODS: Charts of 62 belt lipectomy patients were examined retrospectively. Postoperative pain control regimen, pain scores, total amount of opioids administered, and side effects encountered were recorded. Twenty-seven patients had traditional pain control regimens, opioids on demand, and pain control pumps. Thirty-five patients received epidural analgesia as their primary mode of postoperative pain control. RESULTS: Pain scores and total nonepidural opioids used were lower in the epidural analgesia group on postoperative days 0 and 1 compared with the nonepidural group. The two groups converged on postoperative days 2 through 5, sharing similar pain scores and opioid use after discontinuation of epidural analgesia. The incidence of side effects was similar in the two groups, with the exception of pruritus, which was much more prominent in the epidural group. Eight of the 35 epidural patients (23 percent) experienced transient and minor complications associated with epidural therapy; several resolved spontaneously, whereas the balance resolved with cessation or modification of the epidural infusion. CONCLUSIONS: Epidural analgesia is more effective than traditional pain control methods in reducing immediate postoperative pain in belt lipectomy patients. On the basis of these findings, epidural analgesia should also be considered for postoperative pain management in other truncal procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-544
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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