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Oxycodone and Dexamethasone for pain management after tonsillectomy: A placebo-controlled EMG assessed clinical trial

Michael Vaiman, Daniel Krakovski, Zoe Haitov

Med Sci Monit 2011; 17(10): PI25-31

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.881964

Background:    Surface electromyographic (sEMG) study of post-tonsillectomy swallow-evoked muscular reactions was performed in order to evaluate the efficacy and safety of oxycodone and dexamethasone in pain management after tonsillectomy.
    Material/Methods:    90 randomly chosen operated adults were divided into three groups. Group 1 (n=30) was treated with OxyContin (Oxycodone) injections; Group 2 (n=30) was treated with Dexacort (Dexamethasone), and Group 3 (n=30) was a placebo group. Pain assessment included visual analogue scale (VAS) pain score and the EMG data like the timing, electric amplitude and graphic patterns of muscular activity during deglutition. We investigated masseter, infrahyoid and submental-submandibular muscles. Records from trapezius muscle were used for control. The results were compared with previously established normative database. The patients were tested 24 h after surgery. The sEMG data were compared with VAS pain score with regard to changes in clinical condition of the patients.
    Results:    Analgesia with oxycodone smoothed the recorded sEMG swallow peaks and increases time of deglutition. Dexamethasone normalized muscular activity in deglutition in cases with edema as detected by the EMG records. Statistically significant difference in muscle reactions was detected between the two Groups and the placebo group.
    Conclusions:    Application of oxycodone significantly reduces the postoperative pain. Application of dexamethasone after tonsillectomy is advisable because of the reduction of postoperative morbidity while the reduction of the postoperative pain is secondary to the reduction of edema. SEMG might be used as an adjunctive measure of pain behavior via assessment of muscular reactions to pain and to analgesia.

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