Abdominal Ice after Laparoscopic Hysterectomy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Adela G. Cope, Marnie M. Wetzstein, Kristin C. Mara, Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, Nafisseh S. Warner, Tatnai L. Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Study Objective: To assess the impact of abdominal ice packs on opioid use and pain control after laparoscopic hysterectomy Design: Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Academic tertiary care medical center. Patients: Total of 142 adult women undergoing laparoscopic (either conventional or robotic) hysterectomy were randomized to control (n = 69) or intervention (n = 73). Exclusion criteria included preoperative opioid use, planned intensive care unit admission or same-day discharge, an incision ≥4 cm, and regional anesthesia use. Interventions: Subjects in the intervention group had a large ice pack placed directly on the lower abdomen before leaving the operating room. The ice pack was maintained continuously for 12 hours postoperation, as desired thereafter until discharge, and continued use encouraged after discharge for up to 48 hours. Measurements and Main Results: Total opioids administered postoperatively, while inpatient and after dismissal, were assessed in morphine milligram equivalents. Postoperative pain, as well as analgesia acceptability and side effects, were assessed using validated measures: Brief Pain Inventory and Overall Benefit of Analgesia Score. Median morphine milligram equivalent was lower in the intervention group than the controls from inpatient stay on the floor to completion of opioid use as an outpatient (22.5 vs 26.2) but was not statistically significant (p =.79). There was no significant difference between the groups in Brief Pain Inventory assessment of postoperative pain severity (p =.80) or pain interference (p =.36) or Overall Benefit of Analgesia Score total score (p =.88). Most patients in the intervention group were very satisfied with ice pack use (n = 51, 79.7%) and very likely to recommend it to friends or family (n = 54, 83.1%). There were no adverse events related to ice pack use. Conclusion: There was no significant difference in postoperative opioid use or pain assessment with ice pack use after laparoscopic hysterectomy. However, most of the subjects expressed high satisfaction specific to ice pack use and would recommend its use to others, suggesting potential desirability as adjunct therapy in postoperative pain control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Cryotherapy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Morphine milligram equivalents
  • Opioid
  • Postoperative pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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