Peripheral Nerve Blocks Outperform General Anesthesia for Pain Control in Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.Arthroscopy. 2022 05; 38(5):1627-1641.A
The purpose of this review is to compare the effectiveness of different peripheral nerve blocks and general anesthesia (GA) in controlling postoperative pain after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (ARCR).
A Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses-compliant systematic review was conducted for the period of January 1, 2005, to February 16, 2021, by searching the following databases: PubMed, Cochrane, Embase, and Arthroscopyjournal.org. The primary outcomes of interest included 1-hour, 24-hour, and 48-hour pain scores on a numeric rating scale or visual analog scale (VAS). Inclusion criteria were English language studies reporting on adults (≥18 years) undergoing ARCR with peripheral nerve blockade. To synthesize subjective pain score data at each evaluation time point across studies, we performed random-effects network meta-regression analyses accounting for baseline pain score as a covariate.
A total of 14 randomized controlled trials with 851 patients were included in the meta-analysis. Data from six different nerve block interventions, single-shot interscalene brachial plexus nerve block (s-ISB; 37.8% [322/851]), single-shot suprascapular nerve block (s-SSNB; 9.9% [84/851]), continuous ISB (c-ISB; 17.5% [149/851]), continuous SSNB (c-SSNB; 6.9% [59/851]), s-ISB combined with SSNB (s-ISB+SSNB; 5.8% [49/851]), s-SSNB combined with axillary nerve block (s-SSNB+ANB; 4.8% [41/851]), as well as GA (17.3% [147/851]) were included. Our meta-analysis demonstrated that c-ISB block had a significant reduction in pain score relative to GA at 1-hour postoperation (mean difference [MD]: -1.8; 95% credible interval [CrI] = -3.4, -.08). There were no significant differences in VAS pain scores relative to GA at 24 and 48 hours postoperatively. However, s-ISB+SSNB had a significant reduction in 48-hour pain score compared to s-ISB (MD = -1.07; 95% CrI = -1.92, -.22).
It remains unclear which peripheral nerve block strategy is optimal for ARCR. However, peripheral nerve blocks are highly effective at attenuating postoperative ARCR pain and should be more widely considered as an alternative over general anesthesia alone.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Level II Systematic review and meta-analysis of Level I and II studies.