News A novel innovative approach to chronic post-operative pain from adhesions

10 July 2018

Barend van den Beukel, Harry van Goor and Richard ten Broek described a novel and personalized diagnostic approach to chronic postoperative abdominal pain due to adhesions. For a cohort of 106 patients, cineMRI and shared decision improved long-term pain control in operated and non-operated groups and reduced healthcare utilization. 

Chronic abdominal pain develops in 11–20% of patients undergoing abdominal surgery, partly owing to post-operative adhesions. In this study we evaluate results of a novel diagnostic and therapeutic approach for pain associated with adhesions.

Prospective cohort study including patients with a history of abdominal surgery referred to the outpatient clinic of a tertiary referral center for the evaluation of chronic abdominal pain. Subgroups were made based on outcome of adhesion mapping with cine-MRI and shared decision making. In operatively managed cases, anti-adhesion barriers were applied after adhesiolysis. Long-term results for pain were evaluated by a questionnaire.

A total of 106 patients were recruited. Seventy-nine patients had adhesions on cine-MRI, 45 of whom underwent an operation. Response rate to follow-up questionnaire was 86.8%. In the operative group (Group 1), the number of negative laparoscopies was 3 (6%). After a median of 19 (range 6–47) months follow-up, 80.0% of patients in group 1 reported improvement of pain, compared with 42.9% in patients with adhesions on cine-MRI who declined surgery (group 2), and 26.3% in patients with no adhesions on cine-MRI (group 3), P = 0.002. Consultation of medical specialists was significantly lower in group 1 compared with groups 2 and 3 (35.7 vs. 65.2 vs. 58.8%; P = 0.023).

We demonstrate long-term pain relief in two-thirds of patients with chronic pain likely caused by adhesions, using cine-MRI and a shared decision-making process. Long-term improvement of pain was achieved in 80% of patients who underwent surgery with concurrent application of an anti-adhesion barrier.

A Shared Decision Approach to Chronic Abdominal Pain Based on Cine-MRI: A Prospective Cohort Study.
Van den Beukel BAW, Stommel MWJ, van Leuven S, Strik C, IJsseldijk MA, Joosten F, van Goor H, Ten Broek RPG.

Barend van den Beukel and Harry van Goor are members of theme Reconstructive and regenerative medicine. Richard ten Broek is member of theme Tumors of digestive tract.

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