Liposomal bupivacaine reduces opiate consumption after rotator cuff repair in a randomized controlled trial.J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2019 May; 28(5):819-827.JS
Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (ARCR) provides excellent clinical outcomes but is often associated with significant postoperative pain. The use of intraoperative anesthesia in conjunction with multimodal pharmacologic strategies is a widely accepted approach for managing surgical pain and reducing opiate use. The purpose of this study was to determine whether using a combined field and suprascapular nerve block with liposomal bupivacaine (LB) in addition to an interscalene block would provide greater pain relief and a reduction in opiate consumption compared with an interscalene block alone.
The study enrolled 50 patients with full-thickness rotator cuff tears undergoing primary ARCR surgery. Patients were randomized to receive intraoperative LB (n = 25) or not (n = 25) and given postoperative "pain journals" to document visual analog scale pain scores and to track their daily opioid consumption during the first 5 postoperative days.
Patients in the LB group reported statistically and clinically lower pain scores during postoperative days 1 and 2 (P < .0001 and P = .03, respectively). In addition, patients in the LB group consumed significantly fewer narcotics than the control group during the 5-day period, demonstrating a 64% reduction in total narcotic consumption (P = .002).
The findings of this study suggest that the addition of LB to multimodal anesthetic protocols significantly reduces the acute perioperative pain experienced following rotator cuff repair and the number of narcotic pills consumed in the first 5 days after ARCR. Furthermore, the findings provide guidelines for postoperative narcotic prescribing to reduce the quantity of opiates prescribed.