Continuous infusion of local anaesthetic following laparoscopic hysterectomy—a randomised controlled trial




To estimate whether a continuous infusion of intraperitoneal local anaesthetic for 48 hours following laparoscopic hysterectomy reduced the need for opioids delivered with a patient-controlled analgesia pump.


Double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial.


District general hospital in the UK.


Women undergoing a laparoscopic hysterectomy for a benign indication.


Women were randomised to receive either 0.5% levobupivicaine or 0.9% normal saline via an ON-Q elastomeric pump for 48 hours postoperatively. The amount of opioids used via the patient-controlled analgesia pump was recorded and pain was measured using an 11-point Box Scale.

Main outcome measures

The primary outcome was the amount of patient-administered morphine used over the first 48 postoperative hours. Secondary outcomes were length of hospital stay, oral analgesia use and level of patient-reported pain.


Sixty women participated and completed the trial. There was no difference (= 0.59) in the median amount of patient-administered morphine used between the levobupivicaine (23 mg) and placebo (18.5 mg) groups; median group difference 3.0 (95% CI −7.0 to 14.0). There was also no difference in the length of hospital stay with 40% of the treatment group remaining in hospital >48 hours compared with 30% of the placebo group (= 0.08). Pain scores at all postoperative time points remained similar, with a median group difference in pain scores of 1.0 (95% CI −1.0 to 2.0) at the end of the first postoperative day.


Continuous infusion of 0.5% levobupivicaine into the peritoneal cavity following laparoscopic hysterectomy does not have any opioid-sparing effects.