Purpose: Postoperative pain after laparoscopic surgery has 3 components: parietal, visceral, and associated with pneumoperitoneum. Visceral pain accounts for around 30% of the total pain and is less amenable to be controlled by multimodal analgesia. The topical application of vitamin E ointment has demonstrated an anti-inflammatory effect in the local inflammatory response against surgical aggression. Vitamin E has been also associated with a reduction in postoperative pain of skin wounds. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the topical application of vitamin E acetate on staple lines and anastomoses of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, as part of a multimodal analgesia scheme within an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program.
Methods: A prospective randomized clinical trial was performed. Patients were divided into 2 groups: patients receiving a topical application of vitamin E on staple lines and anastomoses (G1) and patients not receiving it (G2). The primary endpoint was postoperative pain, as measured by VAS 24 h after surgery. Secondary outcomes include morphine rescue needs, acute phase reactants 24 h after surgery, and hospital stay.
Results: One hundred forty patients were included, 70 in each group. Postoperative pain was 10 mm in G1 and 21.8 mm in G2 (p < 0.001). Morphine needs within the first 24 h were 2.9% in G1 and 13.2% in G2 (p = 0.026). C-reactive protein levels were significantly lower in G1 (8.7 mg/dL vs 11.9; p = 0.016). Mean hospital stay was 2.1 days in G1 and 2.9 in G2 (p = 0.019).
Conclusion: Topical application of vitamin E reduces postoperative pain and acute phase reactants, allowing an earlier discharge.