Researchers develop pain-saving new treatment for knee replacements - The Rugby Observer

Researchers develop pain-saving new treatment for knee replacements

Andy Morris 26th Jul, 2017 Updated: 26th Jul, 2017   0

A PAIN-saving new technique for knee replacement patients has been devised by researchers at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust and the University of Warwick – and is the legacy of a local surgeon who died in 2015.

Their study, based on 250 knee replacement patients at UHCW, recommends using an anaesthetic injection around the knee joint.

A traditional option for pain relief during knee replacement surgery is a ‘femoral nerve block’ – a single dose of local anaesthetic injected around a nerve in the groin which is typically administered by an anaesthetist.

But researchers say the new approach means recovering patients don’t need such high doses of powerful painkillers like morphine.




The knee injection can also be administered by surgeons without the need for specialist equipment – saving doctors’ valuable time and resources.

The study was published this month in The Bone and Joint Journal, alongside a tribute to Andrew Sprowson, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at UHCW, and Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, who had been Chief Investigator in the study until his untimely death in March 2015.


Peter Wall, Clinical Lecturer at UHCW NHS Trust and University of Warwick, and lead author of the report, said: “Our study has demonstrated the advantages of injections of anaesthetic agents around the knee during knee replacement surgery over other methods. These injections are now shown to be safe and effective. They also involve fewer resources and reduce the need for powerful painkillers such as morphine.

“This is to be welcomed as the potential risks of morphine-type pain relief are well known and should be avoided where possible. We hope that these study findings, if put into practice, will benefit patients around the world.

“I want to emphasise the debt we owe to our late colleague Andrew Sprowson. Without his initiative and enthusiasm, this research study would not have taken place.”

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme.

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