Pain after most stomach and lower abdomen surgeries can be eliminated by a new treatment, research shows.
A University of Auckland study has found that by pumping local anaesthetic into the site of the surgery over three days, post-operative pain and fatigue was markedly reduced.
The treatment has only been used on patients who have had bowel surgery and an epidural.
They reported not feeling any pain while lying still for 12 hours after their operation, and decreased pain a week later.
Patients given saline instead of local anaesthetic as a placebo reported moderate pain levels.
One of the researchers, Dr Arman Kahoker, says he initially set out to try to reduce fatigue and alleviating pain was a bonus.
Patients also took less morphine.
The research will be presented to the Association of American Surgeons in February.