Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Pain management after microtia repair with costal cartilage: De-escalation and opioid use reduction.

Epperson MV, VanHorn A, Kim HM, Kim JC, Zopf D. Pain management after microtia repair with costal cartilage: De-escalation and opioid use reduction. International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology. 2022 Oct 1; 161:111270.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVE: Complex and invasive postoperative pain regimens for microtia reconstruction with costal cartilage are often utilized. These generate added costs and invasiveness. We evaluated the effectiveness of a de-escalated pain regimen without use of invasive interventions. METHODS: Case series of patients who underwent stage 1 microtia reconstruction with a modified Nagata/Firmin technique from 2017 to 2020 at a pediatric tertiary care hospital. Patients received intraoperative bupivacaine intercostal blocks and scheduled acetaminophen. Adjunct medications administered and pain scores (Wong-Baker FACES and FLACC-Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability) at intervals 2-72 h postoperatively were recorded. Narcotic use, peak and median pain scores, and length of stay were compared with published values. RESULTS: Twenty patients were included. Mean age of 12 and length of stay of 2.8 days. Average postoperative FACES scores between 0 and 72 h ranged between 0.7 and 4.0. The average peak pain score was 6.1 (±2.0). FLACC scores were low. Narcotics (0.59 ±0 .35 Morphine Milligram Equivalents/kg) were given to 17 patients. Compared to Shaffer et al. (paravertebral catheter-based infusion), total narcotics use (p  =  0.03), peak pain (p  =  0.0001), and length of stay (p  =  0.001) were less. Compared to Woo et al. (intercostal catheter-based infusion), median pain scores at identical time intervals were lower (p  =  0.04). CONCLUSION: Intraoperative intercostal nerve blocks followed by scheduled, weight-based acetaminophen, adjunctive medications (ibuprofen and lidocaine patches), and rescue narcotics are effective in managing pain following microtia repair with autologous costal cartilage. It results in decreased narcotic usage, shorter length of stay, and lower pain scores compared to more complex regimens.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.