Publication Date



Local and Regional Anesthesia


BACKGROUND: Interscalene brachial plexus block is frequently utilized to provide perioperative analgesia to patients undergoing shoulder surgery to optimize recovery, minimize opioid consumption, and decrease overall hospital length of stay. The use of an indwelling perineural interscalene catheter provides extended analgesia and is efficacious in managing severe postoperative pain following major shoulder surgery. Currently, the only alternative to perineural catheters for extended analgesia with interscalene block involves the perineural infiltration of liposomal bupivacaine. However, there is limited published data regarding the overall analgesic effectiveness of using interscalene liposomal bupivacaine in the setting of shoulder surgery.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of 43 patients in the acute trauma setting who underwent major shoulder surgery and received extended analgesia via perioperative interscalene brachial plexus block with either an indwelling continuous catheter or single-dose liposomal bupivacaine to determine if comparable analgesia can be achieved. The primary outcomes of interest were postoperative pain scores and opioid consumption. Due to the ability to titrate and bolus local anesthetic infusions to a desired clinical effect, we hypothesized that opioid consumption and pain scores would be lower when using the continuous catheter technique.

RESULTS: After statistical analysis, our results demonstrated no significant difference between the two techniques in regards to opioid consumption as well as numeric pain scores during the 48-hour postoperative period, but did note a higher rate of complications with patients who received perineural interscalene continuous catheters. Secondary outcomes showed an increase in time required to complete the regional block procedure with the use of indwelling catheters.

CONCLUSION: Interscalene brachial plexus block with liposomal bupivacaine may be a viable alternative to indwelling continuous catheters for providing extended analgesia in patients undergoing major shoulder surgery.


brachial plexus, analgesia, perineural, postoperative pain, retrospective



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