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Virginia Mason Study Determines Path to Better Pain Control for Orthopedic Patients

SEATTLE – (May 28, 2014) – A Virginia Mason study has determined that a nerve block technique which avoids the femoral nerve results in the need for less morphine and a potentially speedier recovery for orthopedic surgery patients. The study is the focus of an article in the June edition of Anesthesia & Analgesia, the publication of the International Anesthesia Research Society.

The study involved 80 total knee replacement patients. It concluded that infusing pain-control medication through a catheter in the adductor canal of the mid-thigh rather than higher up near the femoral nerve provides better pain control and prevents temporary weakness of the leg muscles. This allows recovering patients to walk sooner with stronger legs, resulting in improved physical therapy participation. Patients in the study also needed less morphine to control post-surgery pain.

Virginia Mason anesthesiologists Neil Hanson, MD, and David Auyong, MD, were members of the research team and co-authors of the article. “No one in the world has shown all these possible outcomes in the same study with the adductor canal technique,” Dr. Hanson said.

Dr. Auyong added, “Use of the adductor canal for pain-block infusion appears to improve safety and clinical outcomes, and reduces the length of time needed for hospitalization. All patients now get this nerve block at Virginia Mason as part of our standard work for knee replacement surgery.”

The article is titled “Continuous Ultrasound-Guided Adductor Canal Block for Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial.”

About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,600 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 460 physicians; satellite locations throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety. Virginia Mason website: www.VirginiaMason.org

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Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509
gale.robinette@vmmc.org

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