Does subcutaneous infiltration of liposomal bupivacaine following single-level transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion surgery improve immediate postoperative pain control?

Marko Tomov, Kevin Tou, Rose Winkel, Ross Puffer, Mohamad Bydon, Ahmad Nassr, Paul Huddleston, Michael Yaszemski, Bradford Currier, Brett Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Study Design: Retrospective case-control study using prospectively collected data. Purpose: Evaluate the impact of liposomal bupivacaine (LB) on postoperative pain management and narcotic use following standardized single-level low lumbar transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). Overview of Literature: Poor pain control after surgery has been linked with decreased pain satisfaction and increased economic burden. Unfortunately, opioids have many limitations and side effects despite being the primary treatment of postoperative pain. LB may be a form of pre-emptive analgesia used to reduce the use of postoperative narcotics as evidence in other studies evaluating its use in single-level microdiskectomies. Methods: The infiltration of LB subcutaneously during wound closure was performed by a single surgeon beginning in July 2014 for all single-level lumbar TLIF spinal surgeries at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. This cohort was compared against a control cohort of patients who underwent the same surgery by the same surgeon in the preceding 6 months. Statistical analysis was performed on relevant variables including: morphine equivalents of narcotic medication used (primary outcome), length of hospitalization, Visual Analog Scale pain scores, and total time spent on a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump. Results: A total of 30 patients were included in this study; 16 were in the intervention cohort and 14 were in the control cohort. The morphine equivalents of intravenous narcotic use postoperatively were significantly less in the LB cohort from day of surgery to postoperative day 3. Although the differences lost their statistical significance, the trend remained for total (oral and intravenous) narcotic consumption to be lower in the LB group. The patients who received the study intervention required an acute pain service consult less frequently (62.5% in LB cohort vs. 78.6% in control cohort). The amount of time spent on a PCA pump in the LB group was 31 hours versus 47 hours in the control group (p =0.1506). Conclusions: Local infiltration of LB postoperatively to the subcutaneous tissues during closure following TLIF significantly decreased the amount of intravenous narcotic medication required by patients. Well-powered prospective studies are still needed to determine optimal dosing and confirm benefits of LB on total narcotic consumption and other measures of pain control following major spinal surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalAsian Spine Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Chronic pain
  • Lumbar
  • Lumbar interbody fusion
  • Polyetheretherketone cages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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