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J Arthroplasty. 2018 Aug;33(8):2440-2448. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2018.03.053. Epub 2018 Mar 27.

Multimodal Clinical Pathway With Adductor Canal Block Decreases Hospital Length of Stay, Improves Pain Control, and Reduces Opioid Consumption in Total Knee Arthroplasty Patients: A Retrospective Review.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI; Department of Anesthesiology, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital, Pontiac, MI.
Department of Anesthesiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI.



Total knee arthroplasty volume is increasing significantly in the United States. Reducing hospital length of stay may represent the best method for accommodating expanding volume and reducing costs. We hypothesized that tailoring a clinical pathway to facilitate early ambulation would decrease costs and resource utilization.


We conducted a sequential before-and-after study of total knee arthroplasty patients after a phased implementation of a clinical pathway that includes multimodal oral analgesic protocols, adductor canal nerve block, and standardized day of surgery ambulation protocols. Primary outcomes measured were hospital length of stay, total opioid consumption, total antiemetic use, and perioperative pain scores.


Two hundred ninety-five patients were divided into 3 sequential cohorts. Cohort 1 received spinal anesthesia, femoral nerve block, and was not placed into postop day 0 ambulation therapy. Cohort 2 received spinal anesthesia, adductor canal block, and postop day 0 ambulation therapy. Cohort 3 received spinal anesthesia, adductor canal block, postop day 0 ambulation therapy, and standardized oral multimodal analgesic protocol. Cohort 3 had significantly reduced hospital length of stay. Cohorts 2 and 3 had significantly less opioid consumption. Cohort 3 had significantly less total ondansetron consumption compared with cohort 1. Cohort 3 had significantly reduced average pain scores compared with cohort 1.


The data demonstrate that tailored clinical pathways designed to facilitate early ambulation can reduce hospital length of stay, reduce opioid consumption, reduce antiemetic use, and improve pain control. The results establish that refined clinical pathways can assist in improving care while increasing value to patients, providers, and systems.


adductor canal block; femoral nerve block; hospital length of stay; multimodal clinical pathway; postoperative opioid consumption; postoperative pain control; total knee arthroplasty

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