Given our national epidemic with opioid use, clinicians look for non-pharmacologic options for postoperative pain control. The abdominal binder has been used in the postoperative period, but research has been inconclusive regarding the effectiveness for cesarean section patients. The purpose of this study was to compare use of an abdominal binder to no binder in women following cesarean delivery, specifically looking at pain and ambulation.
This was a randomized controlled trial at single academic medical center, between February and June 2018. Eighty-two post-cesarean section women were randomized to using an abdominal binder (binder arm) or not using a binder (control). Ambulation frequency, time from surgery, amount of pain medication taken, and pain scores before and after ambulation were recorded. Symptoms of distress were reported by a questionnaire 24 and 48 hours post-surgery. Patient demographics were assessed by electronic record review.
Of the 82 patients, 48 were randomized to the binder arm. Controlling for parity, the binder group demonstrated less post-ambulation pain than control group (P=.001). Post-hoc general linear modeling was used to evaluate pain before and after ambulation and showed that women who wore a binder had less pain than women in the control group. There were differences in pain medications between groups. There were no statistical differences in the time to ambulation following surgery or in distress symptoms between groups. There were no statistically significant differences between demographics, except for parity.
Abdominal binders may be associated with decreased postoperative, post-ambulation pain and can be used as a non-pharmacologic alternative.