Non-narcotic Perioperative Pain Management in Prosthetic Breast Reconstruction During an Opioid Crisis: A Systematic Review of Paravertebral Blocks

Hanae K Tokita, Thais O Polanco, Meghana G Shamsunder, Stefan Dabic, Vaidehi G Patel, Robert J Allen, Joseph H Dayan, Babak J Mehrara, Evan Matros, Jonas A Nelson
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Global Open 2019, 7 (6): e2299

Background: Alternatives to postoperative, narcotic pain management following implant-based, postmastectomy breast reconstruction (IBR) must be a focus for plastic surgeons and anesthesiologists, especially with the current opioid epidemic. Paravertebral blocks (PVBs) are a regional technique that has demonstrated efficacy in patients undergoing a variety of breast cancer-related surgeries. However, a specific understanding of PVB's efficacy in pain management in patients who undergo IBR is lacking.

Methods: A systematic search of PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library electronic database was conducted to examine PVB administration in mastectomy patients undergoing IBR. Data were abstracted regarding: authors, publication year, study design, patient demographics, tumor laterality, tumor stage, type, and timing of reconstruction. The primary outcome was PVB efficacy, represented as patient-reported pain scores. Secondary outcomes of interest include narcotic consumption, postoperative nausea and vomiting, antiemetic use, and length of stay.

Results: The search resulted in 1,516 unique articles. After title and abstract screening, 29 articles met the inclusion criteria for full-text review. Only 7 studies were included. Of those, 2 studies were randomized control trials and 5 were retrospective cohort studies. Heterogeneity of included studies precluded a meta-analysis. Overall, PVB patients had improved pain control, and less opioid consumption.

Conclusion: PVBs are a regional anesthesia technique which may aid in pain management in the breast reconstructive setting. Evidence suggests that PVBs aid in controlling acute postoperative pain, reduce opioid consumption, and improve patient length of stay. However, some conflicting findings demonstrate a need for continued research in this area of pain control.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"