Institut Bergonié, Service d’anesthésie-réanimation-algologie, 180, rue de Saint-Genès, 33076 Bordeaux Cedex, France.
The efficacy of preemptive analgesia on postoperative pain is discussed. From experimental neurophysiological data, the present policy of preventive analgesia aims at precluding modifications of the nervous system secondary to a nervous lesion and the appearance of chronic pain, particulary of the neurogenic kind. The post-mastectomy pain syndrome (PMPS) falls within the realm of neurogenic pain and is still poorly understood and underestimated. This study evaluated the preemptive effect of a perioperative administration of an oral non steroid anti-inflammatory, the ibuprofen-arginine, on PMPS. Thirty patients scheduled for partial or total mastectomy with axillary dissection were prospectively and randomly assigned to 2 groups. The ibuprofen-arginine group (group I) (n = 15), received an oral administration of 400 mg of ibuprofen-arginine, 90 min before surgery, 2 h after surgery and then every 8 h in the first 32 postoperative hours. The control group (group C) received in doubled blind a placebo at the same time. At 6 months, we looked after pain or dysesthesia. We confirmed the diagnosis of PMPS in presence of association of diagnosis criterias. Fourteen patients in each group have been included. Eighty-six percent of the patients (13 patients in group I and 11 patients in group C) presented at 6 months dysesthesia of the upper member ipsilateral to the mastectomy and/or the operated breast, appearing either immediately or after a lapse of time. Nine patients (group I) and 6 patients (group C) had PMPS. Postoperative radiotherapy and lymphoedema were statistically associated with PMPS (p = 0.019 and p = 0.011). The perioperative preventive administration of a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug reduces neither the incidence of pain in the first post-operative months, nor the appearance of PMPS at 6 months. These results suggest that others factors than the nervous lesion may play a role in the occurrence of PMPS, as radiotherapy, lymphoedema, but also psychosocials factors.