Administration of analgesics after rotator cuff repair: a prospective clinical trial comparing glenohumeral, subacromial, and a combination of glenohumeral and subacromial injections

Hyo-Jin Lee, Yang-Soo Kim, In Park, Dae-Ho Ha, Jun-Hyung Lee
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 2015, 24 (5): 663-8

BACKGROUND: Local analgesic injections are commonly used for pain relief after shoulder surgery. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of local injections administered in the glenohumeral joint, the subacromial space, or both locations after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.

METHODS: Between March 2011 and December 2011, 121 consecutive patients who had undergone arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery were enrolled in the study and all patients were randomly allocated to 3 groups. In group 1, 40 patients received a postoperative glenohumeral injection of bupivacaine (20 mL) and lidocaine (10 mL). In group 2, 42 patients received the same postoperative injection, but it was administered in the subacromial space. In group 3, 39 patients received the same amount of local anesthesia but with half injected in the glenohumeral joint and half in the subacromial space. The visual analog scale was used to assess pain intensity before surgery and at postoperative hours 1, 2, 6, 12, and 24. Demerol was used as a postinjection rescue analgesic, and the total number of administrations was recorded at each time point.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences between groups in patient age, sex, or rotator cuff tear size (P > .05). The visual analog scale scores for pain between each group were not significantly different at any time point, including before surgery (P > .05). In addition, the amount of supplementary analgesic administered was not significantly different between the groups (P > .05).

CONCLUSION: Injection of local analgesics after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair relieves postoperative pain regardless of the injection location.

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