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South Med J. 1990 Jun;83(6):649-52.

Intrathecal morphine as an adjunct to anesthesia for head and neck surgery.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md.


Within the past 15 years, the use of spinal opiates has gained acceptance as a means of achieving postoperative analgesia during various surgical procedures, though little has been reported concerning such use in head and neck surgery. Our experience with intrathecal morphine for eight patients who have had head and neck surgery is reviewed. Mechanisms of pain and possible sites of action of intrathecal morphine as they pertain to these patients are discussed. Adequate postoperative analgesia was achieved in seven of our eight patients. Only one patient required supplemental intravenous narcotics during the initial 24-hour postoperative period. This patient had a history of chronic narcotic use, suggesting that such patients may be tolerant to intrathecal narcotics as they are to narcotics given by other routes.

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