Background: In abdominal wall reconstruction, adequate pain control and minimization of narcotic consumption are essential to improving patient outcomes and satisfaction. Previous studies have examined the role of individual strategies, such as neuraxial analgesia and multimodal analgesia. However, there has not been a study that examined all potential determinants of postoperative narcotic requirements, including intraoperative strategies. Methods: Consecutive patients who underwent abdominal wall reconstruction were reviewed. Preoperative factors (chronic preoperative narcotic usage, indication for abdominal wall reconstruction, administration of neuraxial analgesia), intraoperative factors (intraoperative narcotics administered, method of mesh fixation), and postoperative factors (multimodal analgesia, complications) were collected. The main outcomes were daily amount of opioids used and length of hospital stay. Results: Ninety-three patients were included in the study. Patients who had an epidural required lower doses of opioids postoperatively, while those on chronic preoperative opioids, those whose mesh was fixated using transfascial sutures, and those who received large doses of opioids intraoperatively required higher doses of postoperative opioids. Hospital length of stay was longer in patients who received transfascially sutured mesh and those on chronic opioids preoperatively. Conclusions: This study provides potential strategies to improve pain control and minimize narcotic consumption postoperatively in patients undergoing abdominal wall reconstruction. Intraoperative administration of opioids should be minimized to avoid the development of tolerance. Epidural analgesia reduces postoperative narcotic requirement and may be especially beneficial in patients at highest risk for postoperative pain, including those on chronic opioids, and those in whom transfascial sutures are used for mesh fixation.
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