Focus on Orthopedics/Sports Medicine: Minimizing Pain After Surgery

Pain control is an important part of the postsurgical recovery process that can promote healing and reduce the risk of complications. However, many surgeries take place in the outpatient setting, where minimizing the use of opioids is paramount. Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia techniques—nerve blocks—are an effective solution, although they have limitations such as prolonged numbness or weakness.

In the latest issue of the Ochsner Journal, Soberón, Jr. and colleagues present a novel ultrasound-guided pain management technique using liposomal bupivacaine during upper extremity orthopedic surgery. Liposomal bupivacaine is currently only approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for local anesthetic infiltration use. However, the authors found no differences in pain scores between patients who received a normal nerve block compared to patients who received a short-acting nerve block along with liposomal bupivacaine.

According to the authors, the technique could allow primary nerve blocks to resolve sooner so that patients can receive other analgesics to manage their pain. Click here to read more about this study’s results.

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