Continuous Posterior Lumbar Plexus Nerve Block Versus Periarticular Injection with Ropivacaine or Liposomal Bupivacaine for Total Hip Arthroplasty: A Three-Arm Randomized Clinical Trial

Rebecca L. Johnson, Adam W. Amundson, Matthew P. Abdel, Hans P. Sviggum, Tad M. Mabry, Carlos B. Mantilla, Darrell R. Schroeder, Mark W. Pagnano, Sandra L. Kopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background:Debate surrounds the issue of whether peripheral nerve blockade or periarticular infiltration (PAI) should be employed within a contemporary, comprehensive multimodal analgesia pathway for total hip arthroplasty. We hypothesized that patients treated with a continuous posterior lumbar plexus block (PNB) would report less pain and consume less opioid medication than those treated with PAI.Methods:This investigator-initiated, independently funded, 3-arm randomized clinical trial (RCT) performed at a single high-volume institution compared postoperative analgesia interventions for elective, unilateral primary total hip arthroplasty: (1) PNB; (2) PAI with ropivacaine, ketorolac, and epinephrine (PAI-R); and (3) PAI with liposomal bupivacaine, ketorolac, and epinephrine (PAI-L) using computerized randomization. The primary outcome was maximum pain during the morning (06:00 to 12:00) of the first postoperative day (POD) on an ascending numeric rating scale (NRS) from 0 to 10. Pairwise treatment comparisons were performed using the rank-sum test, with a p value of <0.017 indicating significance (Bonferroni adjusted). A sample size of 150 provided 80% power to detect a difference of 2.0 NRS units.Results:We included 159 patients (51, 54, and 54 patients in the PNB, PAI-R, and PAI-L groups, respectively). No significant differences were found with respect to the primary end point on the morning of the first POD (median, 3.0, 4.0, and 3.0, respectively; p > 0.033 for all). Opioid consumption was low and did not differ across groups at any intervals. Median maximum pain on POD 1 was 5.0, 5.5, and 4.0, respectively, and was lower for the PAI-L group than for the PAI-R group (p = 0.006). On POD 2, maximum pain (median, 3.5, 5.0, and 3.5, respectively) was lower for the PNB group (p = 0.014) and PAI-L group (p = 0.016) compared with the PAI-R group. The PAI-L group was not significantly different from the PNB group with respect to any outcomes: postoperative opioid use including rescue intravenous opioid medication, length of stay, and hospital adverse events, and 3-month follow-up data including any complication.Conclusions:In this RCT, we found a modest improvement with respect to analgesia in patients receiving PNB compared with those receiving PAI-R, but not compared with those who had PAI-L. Secondary analyses suggested that PNB or PAI-L provides superior postoperative analgesia compared with PAI-R. For primary total hip arthroplasty, a multimodal analgesic regimen including PNB or PAI-L provides opioid-limiting analgesia.Level of Evidence:Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1836-1845
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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