Original Article| Volume 37, ISSUE 11, P3229-3237, November 2021

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Postoperative Pain Control After Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair: Arthroscopy-Guided Continuous Suprascapular Nerve Block Versus Ultrasound-Guided Continuous Interscalene Block


      To compare the clinical efficacy and safety of arthroscopy-guided continuous suprascapular nerve block and ultrasound-guided continuous interscalene block in postoperative analgesia in patients undergoing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.


      A prospective study was performed between March and November 2020. In total, 76 patients were enrolled and divided into 2 groups: in the 38 patients of group 1 (arthroscopy-guided continuous suprascapular nerve block), an indwelling catheter was introduced via the Neviaser portal under arthroscopic view before closing the portal at the end of the surgery; and in the 38 patients of group 2 (ultrasound-guided continuous interscalene block), an indwelling catheter was inserted and directed toward the interscalene brachial plexus prior to the surgery under ultrasound guidance. The primary outcome was the pain score measured by the visual analog scale at postoperative 24 hours during admission. Comparisons were conducted at different time points (postoperative 4, 8, 24, and 48 hours). The secondary outcome was any of these events: neurologic complications, such as sensory/motor change in the upper extremities; hemidiaphragmatic paresis; dyspnea; dysphonia; and Horner’s syndrome. Opioid usage until postoperative 3 weeks was compared between the groups.


      The visual analog scale scores in groups 1 and 2 were comparable at each postoperative time point (analysis of variance, P = .919; trends, P = .132). Neurologic deficits were more common in group 2 than in group 1 (8 vs 32 patients, P < .001). Decreased excursion of the diaphragm was more common in group 2 (partial or complete paresis of the hemidiaphragm: 1 vs 29 patients, P < .001). Opioid consumption was similar in both groups (morphine milligram equivalents per kilogram; 1.75 vs 1.55, P = .195).


      Our findings show that arthroscopy-guided continuous suprascapular nerve block is not inferior to ultrasound-guided continuous interscalene block for postoperative pain control after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair while showing fewer temporary neurologic complications.

      Level of Evidence

      Level II, prospective cohort study, interventional study.
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