Pituitary adenomas are noncancerous tumors that form in the pituitary gland, a pea-sized organ located at the base of the brain. Transsphenoidal endonasal surgery is a common treatment for these tumors, which involves removing the tumor through the nasal cavity. Unfortunately, postoperative pain, headache, and nausea are common complications that can delay hospital discharge and increase the risk of other complications.
A clinical trial sought to determine if a regional anesthetic technique could reduce postoperative pain and opioid use in patients undergoing pituitary neurosurgery. The technique called bilateral superficial trigeminal nerve blocks of the supra-orbital V1 and infra-orbital V2 (SION) nerves, involves injecting a local anesthetic near the nerves that supply sensation to the forehead and cheek.
In this study, 49 patients were chosen and randomly put into two groups. One group received a special injection called the SION block, and the other group got a fake injection of saltwater. The main thing the study looked at was how much opioid medication each group needed for pain relief in the first 6 hours after surgery. They also checked for things like how much pain people had, if they felt sick to their stomach, and how long it took for them to be ready to leave the hospital.
The study did not show a significant difference in the use of opioid medication between the two groups receiving either the SION block or a placebo injection. However, patients in the SION block group had slightly higher pain scores, used more morphine, and had delayed discharge from the post-anesthesia care unit. Further analysis did not reveal any significant differences between the two groups.