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Regional anesthesia improves inpatient but not outpatient opioid demand in tibial shaft fracture surgery.

BACKGROUND: Patients undergoing operative treatment of tibial shaft fractures have considerable pain largely managed with opioids. Regional anesthesia (RA) has been increasingly used to reduce perioperative opioid use.

METHODS: This was a retrospective study of 426 patients that underwent operative treatment of tibial shaft fractures with and without RA. Inpatient opioid consumption and 90-day outpatient opioid demand were measured.

RESULTS: RA significantly decreased inpatient opioid consumption for 48 h post-operatively (p = 0.008). Neither inpatient use after 48 h nor outpatient opioid demand differed in patients with RA (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: RA may help with inpatient pain control and reduce opioid use in tibial shaft fracture.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, retrospective, therapeutic cohort study.

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