Ketamine Use in the Surgical Patient: a Literature Review

Tiffany S. Moon, Katelynn M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: While ketamine is an established anesthetic, its role in the management of acute surgical pain is less certain. Therefore, a literature review is warranted to examine the role of ketamine in acute pain management. Recent Findings: The use of ketamine appears to be most efficacious in larger procedures that lead to increased systemic inflammation or extensive tissue damage. In addition, ketamine seems to be most successful when administered consistently throughout a procedure, such as by an infusion instead of a single bolus, in order to have adequate dosing for an analgesic effect. Summary: Therefore, the focus of research should be on procedures that lead to moderate to severe pain using frequent dosing to determine the most effective role of ketamine. Most importantly, the current literature shows that ketamine can be used as a successful part of multimodal anesthesia with few side effects in patients undergoing major procedures associated with moderate to severe pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalCurrent pain and headache reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Acute pain
  • Analgesia
  • Ketamine
  • Multimodal anesthesia
  • Pain management
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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