Suprascapular Nerve Blockade for Postoperative Pain Control After Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Background: Regional nerve blocks are commonly used to manage postoperative pain after arthroscopic shoulder procedures. The interscalene brachial plexus block (ISB) is commonly used; however, because of the reported side effects of ISB, the use of a suprascapular nerve block (SSNB) has been described as an alternative strategy with fewer reported side effects. Purpose: To examine the efficacy of SSNB for pain control after shoulder arthroscopy compared with ISB as well as anesthesia without a nerve block. Study Design: Systematic review; Level of evidence, 1. Methods: Three databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, and EMBASE) were searched on April 20, 2018, to systematically identify and screen the literature for randomized controlled trials (RCTs). A meta-analysis of standard mean differences (SMDs) was performed to pool the estimated effects of the nerve blocks. Results: The search identified 14 RCTs that included 1382 patients, with a mean age of 54 years (SD, 13 years). The mean follow-up time was 3 days (range, 24 hours to 6 weeks). Postoperative pain control was significantly more effective in the SSNB groups compared with the control groups within 1 hour (SMD, –0.76; 95% CI, –1.45 to –0.07; P = .03) and 4 to 6 hours (SMD, –0.81; 95% CI, –1.53 to –0.09; P = .03) postoperatively. However, pain control was significantly less effective in the SSNB groups compared with ISB within 1 hour (SMD, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.28 to 1.46; P = .004). No major complications were noted in the SSNB groups, and minor complications such as hoarseness and prolonged motor block were significantly less common for SSNB compared with ISB. Conclusion: Although not more efficacious than ISB in terms of pain control for patients undergoing shoulder arthroscopy, SSNB provides significantly improved pain control in comparison with analgesia without a nerve block. Moreover, few major and minor complications are associated with SSNB reported across the literature.

publication date

  • December 1, 2018