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Anesth Pain Med. 2016 Jul 24;6(5):e39476. eCollection 2016 Oct.

Treatment of Post-Latissimus Dorsi Flap Breast Reconstruction Pain With Continuous Paravertebral Nerve Blocks: A Retrospective Review.

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Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego, USA.
School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, USA.
Department of Anesthesiology, University of California, California, USA.



The addition of a perioperative continuous paravertebral nerve block (cPVB) to a single-injection thoracic paravertebral nerve block (tPVB) has demonstrated improved analgesia in breast surgery. However, its use following isolated post-mastectomy reconstruction using a latissimus dorsi flap (LDF) has not previously been examined.


We performed a retrospective review of patients who underwent salvage breast reconstruction with a unilateral LDF by a single surgeon. Preoperatively, all patients received a single-injection tPVB with 0.5% ropivacaine. Additionally, patients had the option for catheter placement to receive a continuous 0.2% ropivacaine infusion with intermittent boluses. Infusions commenced in the recovery room and the catheters were removed on the morning of discharge. The primary endpoint was the mean pain numeric rating scale (NRS) scores for the 24-hour period beginning at 7:00 on post-operative day 1.


A total of 22 patients were included in this study (11-cPVB and 11-tPVB). The mean NRS pain score of cPVB patients (3.5 (standard deviation (SD) 1.8) was lower than that of the single-injection tPVB patients (4.4 (SD 2.1), however this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.31). The length of hospital stay and opioid use was not statistically different between groups.


Patients receiving a cPVB in addition to tPVB after LDF reconstruction experienced similar pain to those receiving tPVB alone. A larger, randomized clinical trial is warranted to fully determine the benefits of using cPVB in addition to tPVB for this procedure.


Breast Reconstruction; Continuous Paravertebral Catheter; Latissimus Dorsi Flap

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