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Preoperative Quadratus Lumborum Block Reduces Opioid Requirements in the Immediate Postoperative Period Following Hip Arthroscopy: A Randomized, Blinded Clinical Trial

      Purpose

      To examine acute postoperative opioid consumption in patients undergoing hip arthroscopy and randomized to either receive a preoperative lateral quadratus lumborum block or sham injection.

      Methods

      This trial randomized 46 subjects undergoing hip arthroscopy with a single surgeon to receive a preoperative lateral quadratus lumborum block (40 mL, ropivacaine 0.25%) or sham injection. The primary outcome was postoperative opioid consumption in patients with and without a block. All opioid medications were converted to morphine milligram equivalents for comparisons. Categorical data were compared with χ2 tests and Fisher exact tests where appropriate. Continuous data were compared with 2-sided t-test and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests.

      Results

      Forty-six subjects scheduled for elective hip arthroscopy were successfully consented and randomized. Demographic and clinical characteristics did not differ. Postoperative opioid consumption decreased 28.3% in patients who received a preoperative lateral quadratus lumborum block (P = .04). Total perioperative opioid consumption (intraoperative and postoperative combined) was reduced 20% in the block group; however, this did not achieve statistical significance (P = .05). Three subjects in the sham group (12.5%) required unblinding for a rescue block in the postoperative anesthetic care unit (PACU) for uncontrolled pain despite systemic analgesics. While cold sensation was decreased postoperatively over the abdomen (P < .001) and anterior thigh (P = .03) in the block group, other PACU variables did not differ, including VAS pain scores, motor function, side effects, PACU duration, and patient satisfaction.

      Conclusions

      Opioid consumption was reduced in patients who received a preoperative lateral quadratus lumborum block combined with a standardized, multimodal protocol as compared with patients who did not receive a block. Our findings support the growing evidence that quadratus lumborum blocks are an effective component of multimodal analgesia options for patients undergoing elective hip arthroscopy.

      Level of Evidence

      Level I, randomized controlled trial.
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