Postoperative Pain Protocol in Children after Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy.


Postoperative Pain Protocol in Children after Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy.


Hatef J; Smith LGF; Veneziano GC; Martin DP; Bhalla T; Leonard JR


Pediatric Neurosurgery




INTRODUCTION: Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) provides lasting relief of spasticity for children suffering from cerebral palsy, although controlling postoperative pain is challenging. Postoperatively, escalation of therapies to include a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump and intensive care unit (ICU) admission is common. OBJECTIVES: We developed a multimodal pain management protocol that included intraoperative placement of an epidural catheter with continuous opioid administration. We present the 3-year results of protocol implementation. METHODS: With institutional review board approval, all patients who were subjected to SDR at our institution were identified for review. Hourly pain scores were recorded. Adverse effects of medication, including desaturation, nausea/vomiting, and pruritus, were also noted. Comparisons were made between patients treated with PCA and those treated with multimodal pain control using t and χ2 tests as appropriate. RESULTS: Thirty-nine patients undergoing the procedure with protocolized pain control (average age 6.8 years, 57% male) were compared to 7 PCA-treated controls (average age 6.6 years, 54% male). Pain control was satisfactory in both groups, with average pain scores of 1.5 in both groups on postoperative day 0, decreasing by postoperative day 3 to 1.1 in the PCA group and 0.5 in the protocol group. No patients under the protocol required ICU admission; all patients with PCA spent at least 1 day in the ICU. Desaturations were seen in 16 patients in the protocol group (41%), but none required ICU transfer. Treatment for pruritis was given to 57% of PCA patients and 15% of protocol patients. Treatment for nausea and vomiting was given to 100% of PCA patients and 51% of protocol patients. Medication requirements for the hospitalization were decreased from 1.1 to 0.28 doses per patient for pruritis, and from 3 to 1.1 doses per patient for nausea. CONCLUSIONS: Multimodal analgesia is an excellent alternative to PCA for postoperative pain after SDR. Actual analgesia is comparative to that of controls without the need for intensive care monitoring. Side effects of high-dose opiates were less frequent and required less medication. With the protocol, patients were safely treated outside the ICU.


Children; Epidural catheter; Multimodal approach; Postoperative pain; Selective dorsal rhizotomy



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Hatef J; Smith LGF; Veneziano GC; Martin DP; Bhalla T; Leonard JR, “Postoperative Pain Protocol in Children after Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed May 21, 2024,