Efficacy of pectoral nerve block versus thoracic paravertebral block for postoperative analgesia after radical mastectomy: a randomized controlled trial

S Kulhari, N Bharti, I Bala, S Arora, G Singh
British Journal of Anaesthesia 2016, 117 (3): 382-6

BACKGROUND: Pectoral nerve (PecS) block is a recently introduced technique for providing surgical anaesthesia and postoperative analgesia during breast surgery. The present study was planned to compare the efficacy and safety of ultrasound-guided PecS II block with thoracic paravertebral block (TPVB) for postoperative analgesia after modified radical mastectomy.

METHODS: Forty adult female patients undergoing radical mastectomy were randomly allocated into two groups. Group 1 patients received a TPVB with ropivacaine 0.5%, 25 ml, whereas Group 2 patents received a PecS II block using same volume of ropivacaine 0.5% before induction of anaesthesia. Patient-controlled morphine analgesia was used for postoperative pain relief.

RESULTS: The duration of analgesia was significantly prolonged in patients receiving the PecS II block compared with TPVB [mean (sd), 294.5 (52.76) vs 197.5 (31.35) min in the PecS II and TPVB group, respectively; P<0.0001]. The 24 h morphine consumption was also less in the PecS II block group [mean (sd), 3.90 (0.79) vs 5.30 (0.98) mg in PecS II and TPVB group, respectively; P<0.0001]. Postoperative pain scores were lower in the PecS II group compared with the TVPB group in the initial 2 h after surgery [median (IQR), 2 (2-2.5) vs 4 (3-4) in the Pecs II and TPVB group, respectively; P<0.0001]. Seventeen patients in the PecS II block group had T2 dermatomal spread compared with four patients in the TPVB group (P<0.001). No block-related complication was recorded.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that the PecS II block provided superior postoperative analgesia than the TPVB in patients undergoing modified radical mastectomy without causing any adverse effect.


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