Effect of intravenous dexamethasone on postoperative pain and swelling following periodontal flap surgery: A randomized controlled trial of patient-centered outcomes

Michael P. Vieth, David E. Deas, A. Archontia Palaiologou, Anibal Diogenes, Michael J. Mader, Brian L Mealey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: This randomized, crossover trial sought to determine if a preoperative intravenous (IV) dose of dexamethasone reduces pain, swelling, and analgesic usage following periodontal surgery. Methods: Thirty-seven patients planned for two similar periodontal flap surgeries under IV sedation were enrolled. Patients were randomized to receive either 2 mL (8 mg) dexamethasone sodium phosphate or 2 mL of IV solution (placebo) before the first surgery, and 2 mL of the other solution before the second surgery. Postoperative discomfort was managed with a standardized regimen of 600 mg ibuprofen and 325 mg acetaminophen. A smartphone application was used to record self-assessed pain and swelling scores using 21-point numerical (NRS-21) and 4-point verbal (VRS-4) rating scales as well as the number of analgesic medications taken at 12-, 24-, 48-, 72-, 168-, and 336-hours following each surgery. Results: IV dexamethasone was associated with a significant reduction in pain at 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours (P <0.05), and swelling at 12, 24, 48, and 168 hours (P < 0.05) postoperatively when compared with placebo based on NRS-21 responses. VRS-4 data showed significant reductions in pain at 12, 72, and 168 hours and swelling at 12, 24, and 168 hours postoperatively with dexamethasone. No significant differences were found in the number of tablets of ibuprofen or acetaminophen between dexamethasone and placebo surgeries. Conclusions: Preoperative, intravenously administered dexamethasone reduces pain and swelling within the first postoperative week following periodontal flap surgery and should be considered a useful adjunct for perioperative management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of periodontology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • analgesia
  • dexamethasone
  • mobile applications
  • pain
  • pain measurement
  • postoperative
  • smartphone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics

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