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Two Medical Surgeons Analyze Patient Medical Scans During Surgery

Each year, more than 300,000 adults in the United States break a hip and nearly all will need surgery.

The PCORI-funded REGAIN Trial, comparing how general anesthesia and spinal anesthesia during hip fracture surgery affected recovery, found patients who received spinal anesthesia received fewer opioids in the operating room but had more pain and prescription pain medication use after surgery. These results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Led by Mark D. Neuman, MD, MS, from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the research team examined data from 1,600 patients across 45 university and community hospitals within the United States and Canada who had hip fracture surgery. Each patient was asked to rate their level of pain (on a scale from 1 to 10).

Overall, patients with spinal anesthesia had slightly higher levels of pain (7.9 out of 10) compared to those who had general anesthesia (7.6). Further results showed spinal anesthesia patients were also 33 percent more likely than general anesthesia patients to still be taking prescription painkillers roughly two months out from their procedure.

Neuman and his colleagues designed the study in collaboration with a patient advocacy group, medical professional societies, and a patient and caregiver advisory group. While the study can’t make a conclusive determination, the result should prompt an examination of some of the assumptions informing current care pathways, researchers said.

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