Laparoscopic cholecystectomy might be considered minor surgery, but it may result in severe postoperative pain. Subcostal transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block, which produces long-lasting supra-umbilical parietal analgesia, might improve analgesia after laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
We investigated whether subcostal TAP block would reduce opioid consumption and pain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy in patients provided with multimodal analgesia.
A randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study.
The study was conducted at a university teaching hospital from December 2017 to June 2018.
Sixty patients scheduled for laparoscopic cholecystectomy were included. Anaesthesia and postoperative analgesia (etoricoxib, paracetamol, ketamine and dexamethasone) were standardised.
After induction of anaesthesia, patients were allocated into two groups: ultrasound-guided bilateral subcostal TAP block with 20 ml of levobupivacaine 0.375% and epinephrine 5 μg ml−1 or 0.9% saline with epinephrine 5 μg ml−1.
Opioid consumption in the recovery room and during the first 24 h after surgery were recorded. Postoperative somatic and visceral pain scores, fatigue and nausea were measured. Intra-operative end-tidal concentrations of sevoflurane (FETSEVO) were also recorded.
Twenty-four hour postoperative opioid consumption were similar in both groups: 21.2 mg (95% CI 15.3 to 27.1) vs. 25.2 (95% CI 15.1 to 35.5) oral morphine equivalent in the levobupivacaine and 0.9% saline groups, respectively; P = 0.48. No significant between-group differences were observed with regards to parietal (P = 0.56) and visceral (P = 0.50) pain scores, fatigue and nausea. FETSEVO was slightly lower in the levobupivacaine group (P < 0.01).
Subcostal TAP block does not improve the analgesia provided by multimodal analgesia after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. It allows for a small reduction in intra-operative sevoflurane requirements.
From the Department of Anaesthesiology (AMH, A-SJM, AK, JLJ), Service of Abdominal Surgery, CHU Liège, University of Liège, Domaine du Sart Tilman, Liège, Belgium (OMD)
Correspondence to Jean L. Joris, MD, PhD, Department of Anaesthesiology, CHU Liège, Domaine du Sart Tilman, Avenue de l’hôpital Bat B35, Liège B-4000, Belgium Tel: +32 4 3667180; fax: +32 4 3667636; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published online 4 June 2019