A prospective randomized controlled trial to identify the optimal postoperative pain management in shoulder arthroplasty: liposomal bupivacaine versus continuous interscalene catheter
Shoulder arthroplasty is the fastest growing joint replacement surgery in the United States, and optimal postoperative pain management is critical to optimize outcomes for these surgeries. Liposomal bupivacaine (LB) has gained popularity for its potential to provide extended postoperative pain relief with possibly fewer side effects. The goal of this study was to assess the impact of LB compared with continuous interscalene nerve block (CISB) in terms of postoperative pain control, outpatient pain scores, and patient-reported and functional outcomes after shoulder arthroplasty surgery.
A prospective randomized controlled clinical trial compared consecutive patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty treated with CISB vs. LB with a single bolus interscalene block. The primary outcome measures included pain assessment up to 24 hours after surgery; in addition, all doses and times of narcotics administered during the inpatient stay were recorded. Patient-reported outcome measures for pain, satisfaction, and functional outcomes were recorded postoperatively.
A total of 70 of 74 consecutive patients who underwent shoulder arthroplasty were included in the study. The LB group had equivalent narcotic use, pain scores, and time to first narcotic rescue compared with the CISB group within the first 24 hours (P > .05). The LB group had higher American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score and Penn Shoulder Score at final follow-up. There was an increased number of complications and cost for the CISB group.
This prospective randomized controlled trial demonstrated that LB provides excellent postoperative pain relief for shoulder arthroplasty patients. In addition, LB had fewer complications and lower cost, making it a promising addition to a multimodal pain regimen for shoulder arthroplasty.