Prospective randomized trial of low-pressure pneumoperitoneum for reduction of shoulder-tip pain following laparoscopy




Postoperative shoulder-tip pain occurs frequently following laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The aim of this randomized clinical trial was to evaluate the efficacy of a low-pressure carbon dioxide pneumoperitoneum during laparoscopic surgery in reducing the incidence of postoperative shoulder-tip pain.


Ninety consecutive patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy were randomized prospectively into low-pressure (group A) and normal-pressure (group B) laparoscopic cholecystectomy groups. Patients in group A (n = 46) underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy with 9 mmHg carbon dioxide pneumoperitoneum during most of the operation, and those in group B (n = 44) had laparoscopic cholecystectomy with 13 mmHg pneumoperitoneum. Shoulder-tip pain was recorded on a visual analogue pain scale 1, 3, 6, 12, 24 and 48 h after operation.


The low-pressure pneumoperitoneum did not increase the duration of surgery. There were no significant intraoperative or postoperative complications in either group. Fourteen patients (32 per cent) in group B and five (11 per cent) in group A complained of shoulder pain (P < 0·05). Mean shoulder-tip pain scores at 12 and 24 h and postoperative analgesia requirements were also significantly lower in the low-pressure laparoscopic cholecystectomy group (P < 0·001).


A carbon dioxide pneumoperitoneum pressure lower than that usually utilized to perform laparoscopic surgery reduces both the frequency and intensity of shoulder-tip pain following laparoscopic cholecystectomy. © 2000 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd