Background

Hip arthroscopy is associated with moderate to severe postoperative pain. This prospective, randomized, double-blinded study investigates the clinically analgesic effect of anterior quadratus lumborum block with multimodal analgesia compared to multimodal analgesia alone. The authors hypothesized that an anterior quadratus lumborum block with multimodal analgesia would be superior for pain control.

Methods

Ninety-six adult patients undergoing ambulatory hip arthroscopy were enrolled. Patients were randomized to either a single-shot anterior quadratus lumborum block (30 ml bupivacaine 0.5% with 2 mg preservative-free dexamethasone) or no block. All patients received neuraxial anesthesia, IV sedation, and multimodal analgesia (IV acetaminophen and ketorolac). The primary outcome was numerical rating scale pain scores at rest and movement at 30 min and 1, 2, 3, and 24 h.

Results

Ninety-six patients were enrolled and included in the analysis. Anterior quadratus lumborum block with multimodal analgesia (overall treatment effect, marginal mean [standard error]: 4.4 [0.3]) was not superior to multimodal analgesia alone (overall treatment effect, marginal mean [standard error]: 3.7 [0.3]) in pain scores over the study period (treatment differences between no block and anterior quadratus lumborum block, 0.7 [95% CI, –0.1 to 1.5]; P = 0.059). Postanesthesia care unit antiemetic use, patient satisfaction, and opioid consumption for 0 to 24 h were not significantly different. There was no difference in quadriceps strength on the operative side between groups (differences in means, 1.9 [95% CI, –1.5 to 5.3]; P = 0.268).

Conclusions

Anterior quadratus lumborum block may not add to the benefits provided by multimodal analgesia alone after hip arthroscopy. Anterior quadratus lumborum block did not cause a motor deficit. The lack of treatment effect in this study demonstrates a surgical procedure without benefit from this novel block.

Editor’s Perspective
What We Already Know about This Topic
  • Hip joint arthroscopy is a surgical procedure gaining in popularity, although the optimal postoperative analgesic strategy has not been determined

  • Quadratus lumborum block can provide analgesia to the hip area, but it is unclear whether this block provides a significant clinical advantage over multimodal analgesia alone

What This Article Tells Us That Is New
  • Anterior quadratus lumborum block along with acetaminophen and ketorolac did not improve postoperative analgesia in comparison to acetaminophen and ketorolac alone

  • Likewise, secondary outcomes including opioid consumption and patient satisfaction were not improved in subjects receiving quadratus lumborum blocks

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