Preoperative Fascia Iliaca Block Does Not Improve Analgesia after Arthroscopic Hip Surgery, but Causes Quadriceps Muscles Weakness: A Randomized, Double-blind Trial

Matthias Behrends, Edward N Yap, Alan L Zhang, Kerstin Kolodzie, Sakura Kinjo, Monica W Harbell, Pedram Aleshi
Anesthesiology 2018, 129 (3): 536-543

WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THIS TOPIC: WHAT THIS ARTICLE TELLS US THAT IS NEW: BACKGROUND:: Ambulatory hip arthroscopy is associated with postoperative pain routinely requiring opioid analgesia. The potential role of peripheral nerve blocks for pain control after hip arthroscopy is controversial. This trial investigated whether a preoperative fascia iliaca block improves postoperative analgesia.

METHODS: In a prospective, double-blinded trial, 80 patients scheduled for hip arthroscopy were randomized to receive a preoperative fascia iliaca block with 40 ml ropivacaine 0.2% or saline. Patients also received an intraarticular injection of 10-ml ropivacaine 0.2% at procedure end. Primary study endpoint was highest pain score reported in the recovery room; other study endpoints were pain scores and opioid use 24 h after surgery. Additionally, quadriceps strength was measured to identify leg weakness.

RESULTS: The analysis included 78 patients. Highest pain scores in the recovery room were similar in the block group (6 ± 2) versus placebo group (7 ± 2), difference: -0.2 (95% CI, -1.1 to 0.7), as was opioid use (intravenous morphine equivalent dose: 15 ± 7mg [block] vs. 16 ± 9 mg [placebo]). Once discharged home, patients experienced similar pain and opioid use (13 ± 7 mg [block] vs. 12 ± 8 mg [placebo]) in the 24 h after surgery. The fascia iliaca block resulted in noticeable quadriceps weakness. There were four postoperative falls in the block group versus one fall in the placebo group.

CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative fascia iliaca blockade in addition to intraarticular local anesthetic injection did not improve pain control after hip arthroscopy but did result in quadriceps weakness, which may contribute to an increased fall risk. Routine use of this block cannot be recommended in this patient population.

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