Erector spinae plane block vs. peri‐articular injection for pain control after arthroscopic shoulder surgery: a randomised controlled trial
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Interscalene brachial plexus block is the standard regional analgesic technique for shoulder surgery. Given its adverse effects, alternative techniques have been explored. Reports suggest that the erector spinae plane block may potentially provide effective analgesia following shoulder surgery. However, its analgesic efficacy for shoulder surgery compared with placebo or local anaesthetic infiltration has never been established. We conducted a randomised controlled trial to compare the analgesic efficacy of pre-operative T2 erector spinae plane block with peri-articular infiltration at the end of surgery. Sixty-two patients undergoing arthroscopic shoulder repair were randomly assigned to receive active erector spinae plane block with saline peri-articular injection (n = 31) or active peri-articular injection with saline erector spinae plane block (n = 31) in a blinded double-dummy design. Primary outcome was resting pain score in recovery. Secondary outcomes included pain scores with movement; opioid use; patient satisfaction; adverse effects in hospital; and outcomes at 24 h and 1 month. There was no difference in pain scores in recovery, with a median difference (95%CI) of 0.6 (-1.9-3.1), p = 0.65. Median postoperative oral morphine equivalent utilisation was significantly higher in the erector spinae plane group (21 mg vs. 12 mg; p = 0.028). Itching was observed in 10% of patients who received erector spinae plane block and there was no difference in the incidence of significant nausea and vomiting. Patient satisfaction scores, and pain scores and opioid use at 24 h were similar. At 1 month, six (peri-articular injection) and eight (erector spinae plane block) patients reported persistent pain. Erector spinae plane block was not superior to peri-articular injection for arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
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