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Narrative review: erector spinae block in spine surgery.

BACKGROUND: Lumbar spine surgery is an ever-increasing procedure with multiple analgesia techniques utilized for postoperative pain control. More recently, erector spinae plane (ESP) blocks have been used to limit the use of opioids after surgery. The authors aimed to review the current literature on ESP blocks and its potential use in the outpatient setting.

METHODS: Several randomized controlled trials were evaluated that compared erector spinae block to traditional anesthesia where the primary outcome of postoperative opioid use was assessed. Randomized control trials comparative studies were also evaluated to assess erector spinae block effect on outpatient procedures. Secondary outcomes include, postoperative pain, patient satisfaction, patient length of stay, and post-operative complications.

KEY CONTENT AND FINDINGS: Erector spinae block was found in general to lower postoperative opioid use compared to traditional anesthesia. In addition, the authors found improved patient satisfaction and less postoperative pain in the erector spinae cohort. Post-operative complications were lower in the erector spinae block group compared to traditional anesthesia, especially in regards to vomiting and nausea.

CONCLUSIONS: While these studies do possess their limitations due to the low number of randomized control studies on erector spinae block, early data does suggest that erector spinae block appears to be superior to that of traditional anesthesia for those undergoing spine surgery.

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