UCLA CTSI partner institution, Cedars-Sinai, has helped develop a method to zap away post-operative pain. Moreover, in their preliminary clinical trials, patients required little to no opioids.
The potential of this method, published online in the journal Anesthesiology, led to the journal naming the paper as one of the 10 most significant clinical papers of the last year. The recognition was announced during a presentation at the 2021 Postgraduate Assembly meeting (PGA) of the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists, held late last year. The PGA is the second-largest anesthesiology meeting.
The technique involves inserting a small wire next to a nerve and the patient operating a stimulator from home to administer a mild electrical current through a lead to an affected area in the shoulder, foot, ankle or knee region. In at least the week after orthopedic surgery, the electrical stimulation led to dramatically decreasing opioid use as a means of pain management by 80%, and pain scores fell by about 60% in the affected areas.
Among the authors of this DOD-funded study, is Dr. Alice Vijjeswarapu, assistant professor of anesthesiology, director of Acute Pain Anesthesia and associate program director of the Pain Medicine Fellowship at Cedars-Sinai. CTSI-supported clinical research coordinators, Wendy Weissberg and Katherine Kobayashi, of the Cedars-Sinai Clinical and Translational Research Center, also worked as collaborator investigators on the publication.
The findings may provide the first hope that significant post-surgery pain reduction may be possible through a device and could reduce a patient’s use of opioids—thereby staving off the chance for opioid addiction and helping to alleviating the opioid epidemic which could ultimately save lives.
You can learn more about this publication in the U.S. News press release.