The reliability of preemptive analgesia is controversial. Its effectiveness may vary among anatomical areas or surgical types. We evaluated preemptive analgesia by epidural morphine in six surgery types in a randomized, double-blind manner. Pain intensity was rated using a visual analog scale, a verbal report, and a measurement of postsurgical morphine consumption. Preemptive analgesia was effective in limb surgery and mastectomy, but ineffective for gastrectomy, hysterectomy, herniorrhaphy, and appendectomy. Relief of postsurgical pain in herniorrhaphy was more rapid than that in the other surgery types. Preemptive analgesia was effective in limb surgery and mastectomy, but not in surgeries involving laparotomy, regardless of whether the surgery was major (gastrectomy and hysterectomy
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