October 19th, 2014 , Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ)

Transition from nerve blocks to periarticular injections and emerging techniques in total joint arthroplasty

The emergence of procedure-specific multimodal pain management regimens that provide effective control of postoperative pain, while markedly reducing the amount of opioid medication required, has been one of the most important advances in hip and knee replacement in recent years. When peripheral nerve blockade first became widely available for inclusion in multimodal regimens, it was viewed as a revolution in the management of postoperative pain. This approach, however, is costly and has some important limitations, including an increased incidence of falls. For many patients, peripheral nerve blocks can now be replaced by a periarticular injection with EXPAREL® (bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension), an extended-release anesthetic infiltrated by the surgeon as part of a multimodal pain regimen. EXPAREL® offers some important clinical and administrative benefits over nerve blocks. Preliminary data from a pilot study comparing the relative effectiveness of EXPAREL® versus sciatic nerve blockade has shown a noticeable reduction in average pain scores at rest with EXPAREL® following both hip and knee arthroplasty, as well as a reduction in the 6- to 12-hour pain score following hip arthroplasty. There was also a significant reduction in opioid use with EXPAREL®, as well as a $411 reduction in the cost of total knee arthroplasty and a $348 reduction in the cost of total hip arthroplasty.