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Preoperative analgesia makes little difference to levels of post-surgery pain

Giving drugs before surgery to reduce postoperative pain may be ineffective, suggests a review of six quality studies of patients who had surgery for impacted wisdom teeth.

The studies tested whether giving ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs could reduce the pain experienced after the surgery. They were published between 1989 and 2012 and reported on a total of 420 patients.

Five different types of painkillers were given, all at different times and in different dosages. Other factors such as anaesthesia use and evaluation methods were also inconsistent across the group of studies.

The studies found that giving ibuprofen before or after surgery resulted in the same levels of pain, and no significant improvements were found with any other drugs given before surgery.

The combined results suggest that preemptive analgesia for the removal of impacted wisdom teeth does not have a significant effect in reducing postoperative pain.

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