Background: Although laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) results in less pain than open chole-cystectomy, it is not a pain-free procedure. Many methods of analgesia for pain after laparoscopy have been evaluated.
Methods: Forty-two randomized controlled trials assessing interventions to reduce pain after LC are reviewed, as are the mechanisms and nature of pain after this procedure.
Results: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, wound local anaesthetic, intraperitoneal local anaesthetic, intraperitoneal saline, a gas drain, heated gas, low-pressure gas and nitrous oxide pneumo-peritoneum have been shown to reduce pain after LC. The clinical significance of this pain reduction is questionable.
Conclusion: Pain after LC is multifactorial. Although many methods of analgesia produce short-term benefit, this does not equate with earlier discharge or improved postoperative function. However, single trials evaluating low-pressure insufflation, heated gas and multimodal analgesia suggest that clinically relevant benefits can be achieved.