The use of quadratus lumborum nerve blocks (QLB) for pain control following elective total hip arthroplasty (THA) has increased substantially in recent years. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to compare outcomes from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) utilising QLBs following elective THA.
MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were searched for RCTs perioperative QLBs for THA. Quantitative synthesis was conducted for pain scores, opioid consumption and adverse events.
A total of 7 RCTs with 429 patients undergoing THA were included. No differences in pain scores were demonstrated between QLBs and control interventions. Subgroup analysis demonstrated no differences between QLBs and sham procedures or active comparators. No differences in postoperative opioid consumption between QLB and control interventions was found. In trials reporting adverse events, they were rare and similar between groups. Overall, the certainty of the evidence was graded as low or very low
The current literature suggests that a QLB for THA does not reduce pain or opioid consumption compared to sham or active comparators.