Succinylcholine-Induced Postoperative Myalgia: Etiology and Prevention

Shabana Zainab Shafy, Mohammed Hakim, Senthil G. Krishna, Joseph D. Tobias


Succinylcholine is a neuromuscular blocking agent frequently used to facilitate endotracheal intubation during general anesthesia. It is usually preferred due to its rapid onset of action and short duration of action. However, the effectiveness of this drug is limited by certain adverse effects, one of which is postoperative myalgia. Although generally considered a minor adverse effect, the myalgia may be severe and interfere with return to normal activities of daily life. We present an 18-year-old with a history of ulcerative colitis who presented for anesthetic care during liver biopsy. Due to comorbidities including obesity, succinylcholine was chosen to provide rapid neuromuscular blockade and facilitate endotracheal intubation. Postoperatively, the patient complained of bilateral calf pain. The etiology of muscle pain related to succinylcholine is discussed and potential strategies to reduce its incidence reviewed.

J Med Cases. 2018;9(8):264-266


Succinylcholine; Myalgia; Anesthesia

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