Purpose of review: Ambulatory surgery continues to expand in scope and volume. Part of this development is supported by improvements in anesthesia care, especially in the realm of postoperative analgesia, which is often outlasted by the pain. The purpose of this review is to outline methods of increasing the duration of postoperative pain control.
Recent findings: There have been recent advances in the use of perineural catheters for the performance of continuous nerve blocks, the use of adjuvants to extend the duration of single dose blocks, methods to improve the technical performance of blocks, systemic multimodal analgesia, and novel or experimental agents.
Summary: The ideas and findings described in this review are taken from the most recent literature and show promise of aiding in the continued improvement of patient care through their dissemination and refinement by further research. Of the modalities reviewed in current use, the continuous perineural catheter combined with systemic multimodal analgesics represents the best combination of safety and efficacy to provide prolonged postoperative analgesia.