Pain management with popliteal block for fibular graft harvesting in head and neck reconstruction; a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Curative treatment for locally advanced head and neck tumours often includes reconstructive surgery using a microvascular free flap. Effective recuperation is essential but may be impeded by postoperative donor site pain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a continuous popliteal block on postoperative pain after fibular graft harvesting.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study adult patients scheduled for reconstructive head and neck surgery with a microvascular free fibular graft received an indwelling popliteal nerve block catheter and were randomized to receive continuous levobupivacaine/ropivacaine or placebo during the first postoperative week. Primary outcome was postoperative extremity pain assessed using the numerated rating scale (NRS). Secondary outcomes included opioid consumption.

RESULTS: In total 24 patients were included. The median (median, IQR [range]) postoperative extremity NRS scores was lower in the local anaesthetic (LA) group (2, 0-3 [0-10]) compared to the placebo group (2, 1-4 [0-10]), p = 0.008. The LA group also experienced fewer episodes of breakthrough pain, defined as NRS ≥ 4 (17% vs 33% of observations), p = 0.009. Furthermore, median (median, IQR [range]) opioid consumption the first postoperative week was lower in the LA group (109 mg, 74-134 [19-611]) compared to the placebo group (202 mg, 135-241 [78-749]), p = 0.010. No complications attributed to the blocks were observed.

CONCLUSION: Continuous popliteal block significantly reduced postoperative extremity pain and opioid consumption in patients undergoing fibular graft harvesting for head and neck reconstructive surgery.

Originalspråkengelska
Artikelnummer105833
Sidor (från-till)1-7
TidskriftOral Oncology
Volym128
DOI
StatusPublished - 2022

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Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Anestesi och intensivvård

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