Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Intrathecal Morphine for Laparoscopic Segmental Colonic Resection as Part of an Enhanced Recovery Protocol: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  1. Mark V. Koning, MD*,,
  2. Aart Jan W. Teunissen, MD,
  3. Erwin van der Harst, MD, PhD§,
  4. Elisabeth J. Ruijgrok, PhD and
  5. Robert Jan Stolker, MD, PhD
  1. *Department of Anesthesiology, Haaglanden MC, Den Haag, The Netherlands
  2. Department of Anesthesiology, Erasmus University Medical Center
  3. Department of Anesthesiology,, Maasstad Ziekenhuis, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  4. §Department of Surgery, Maasstad Ziekenhuis, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  5. Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Maasstad Ziekenhuis, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Address correspondence to: Mark V. Koning, MD, Korenschoofstraat 173, 3513 DE Utrecht, the Netherlands (e-mail: markkoning66{at}


Background and Objectives Management of postoperative pain after laparoscopic segmental colonic resections remains controversial. We compared 2 methods of analgesia within an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program. The goal of the study was to investigate whether administration of intrathecal bupivacaine/morphine would lead to an enhanced recovery.

Methods A single-center, randomized, double-blind controlled trial was performed (NL43488.101.13). Patients scheduled for laparoscopic segmental intestinal resections were considered. Exclusion criteria were patients in whom contraindications to spinal anesthesia were present, conversion to open surgery, and gastric and rectal surgery. The intervention group received single-shot intrathecal bupivacaine/morphine (12.5 mg/300 μg), with an altered dose for older patients. The control group received a sham procedure and a bolus of piritramide (0.1 mg/kg). Both groups received standardized general anesthesia and a patient-controlled intravenous analgesia pump as postoperative analgesia. All patients were treated according to an ERAS protocol. A decrease in days to “fit for discharge” was the primary outcome.

Results Fifty-six patients were enrolled. Intervention group patients were fit for discharge earlier (median of 3 vs 4 days, P = 0.044). Furthermore, there was a significant decrease in opioid use and lower pain scores on the first postoperative day in the intervention group. There were no differences in adverse events (except for more pruritus), time to mobilization, fluid administration, or patient satisfaction.

Conclusions This randomized controlled trial shows that intrathecal morphine is a more effective method of postoperative analgesia in laparoscopic surgery than intravenous opioids within an ERAS program. Recovery is faster and less painful with intrathecal morphine. Other studies have confirmed these results, although data on faster recovery are new and require confirmation in future trials.

Clinical Trial Registration This study was registered at, identifier NCT02284282.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

    This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.