Innovative gel reduces post-operative pain

October 13, 2005

A gel made from a patient's own blood reduces pain and may improve wound healing following endoscopic sinus surgery according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center. The study, published in the September issue of the Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, found that patients who received platelet gel reported an easier recovery than patients who received traditional packing to stop bleeding.

The platelet gel is derived from the patient's own plasma and is made in the operating room. After a small amount of the patient's blood is drawn, it is put into a centrifuge machine that separates out the platelet rich plasma. The fact that the platelet gel is derived from the patient's own blood eliminates the risk of acquired diseases possible with other pooled blood products. Following endoscopic surgery, the gel is sprayed into the sinus cavity.

"The gel is rich in wound factors. It contains platelets for clotting, growth hormones for healing, and white cells to fight infection," said Dr. Jay M. Dutton, study co-author and assistant professor of otolaryngology at Rush. "It effectively stops the bleeding and may advance the healing process."

The plasma gel replaces temporary sponges or sterile packing at the surgical site which, according to Dutton, can be uncomfortable, painful and may restrict breathing. Unlike the traditional material, which must be removed after a few days, the plasma gel is absorbed into the sinus cavity and eliminates the need for painful packing removal.

The study compared 16 patients who received platelet gel following surgery with a control group who received traditional packing material. The preliminary results found no adverse reactions to the gel. Patients who received the gel reported less pain and an easier recovery than the control group.

Most surgeries on the sinuses are conducted to relieve chronic sinusitis or to remove polyps. Endoscopic sinus surgery is performed using instruments inserted through the nose to remove thickened and diseased tissue while disturbing as little healthy tissue as possible. The surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. Doctors usually recommend patients restrict activity for one to two weeks, although this convalescence may be reduced in patients utilizing platelet gel.

"I've seen many patients who really needed sinus surgery, but they were afraid of the pain," said Dutton. "Patients who received the plasma gel were extremely pleased and surprised. In some cases, patients were asking only two days later if they could return to work."
-end-


Rush University Medical Center

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