Background: The authors investigated the efficacy of bilateral suprazygomatic maxillary nerve block (SMB) for postoperative pain relief in infants undergoing cleft palate repair.
Methods: In this prospective, double-blind, single-site, randomized, and parallel-arm controlled trial, 60 children were assigned to undergo bilateral SMB with general anesthesia with either 0.15 ml/kg of 0.2% ropivacaine (Ropi group) or 0.15 ml/kg of isotonic saline (Saline group) on each side. The primary endpoint was total postoperative morphine consumption at 48 h. Pain scores and respiratory- and SMB-related complications were noted.
Results: The overall dose of intravenous morphine after 48 h (mean [95% CI]) was lower in the Ropi group compared with that in the Saline group (104.3 [68.9 to 139.6] vs. 205.2 [130.7 to 279.7] μg/kg; P = 0.033). Continuous morphine infusion was less frequent in the Ropi group compared with that in the Saline group (1 patient [3.6%] vs. 9 patients [31%]; P = 0.006). Three patients in the Saline group had an episode of oxygen desaturation requiring oxygen therapy. There were no technical failures or immediate complications of the SMB. Intraoperative hemodynamic parameters, doses of sufentanil, pain scores, and postoperative hydroxyzine requirements were not different between the two groups.
Conclusion: Bilateral SMB is an easy regional anesthesia technique that reduces total morphine consumption at 48 h after cleft palate repair in children and the use of continuous infusion of morphine and may decrease postoperative respiratory complications.