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Anesth Analg. 2004 Aug;99(2):589-92, table of contents.

Pain relief after arthroscopic shoulder surgery: a comparison of intraarticular analgesia, suprascapular nerve block, and interscalene brachial plexus block.

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Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Louvain, St. Luc Hospital, Avenue Hippocrate 10/1821, B 1200 Brussels, Belgium.


In this prospective, randomized, blinded study, we assessed the analgesic efficacy of interscalene brachial plexus block (ISB), suprascapular nerve block (SSB), and intraarticular local anesthetic (IA) after arthroscopic acromioplasty. One-hundred-twenty patients were divided into 4 groups of 30. In Group SSB, the block was performed with 10 mL of 0.25% bupivacaine. In Group IA, 20 mL of 0.25% bupivacaine was administered intraarticularly at the end of surgery. In Group ISB, the block was performed with 20 mL of 0.25% bupivacaine. A control group was included for comparison. General anesthesia was administered to all patients. Patients were observed during the first 24 h. Pain scores, supplemental analgesia, satisfaction scores, and side effects were recorded at 4 and 24 h. No significant difference was observed between the IA and control groups. When compared with these groups, Groups SSB and ISB had significantly lower pain scores. At 4-h follow-up, better pain relief on movement was noted in Group ISB than in Group SSB. When compared with controls, a significant reduction in morphine consumption and a better satisfaction score were noted only in Group ISB. We conclude that ISB is the most efficient analgesic technique after arthroscopic acromioplasty. SSN block would be a clinically appropriate alternative.

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