To evaluate the efficacy of an intraoperative, post-fixation fracture hematoma block on postoperative pain control and opioid consumption in patients with acute femoral shaft fractures.
Prospective, double-blinded, randomized controlled trial.
Academic Level I Trauma Center.
Patients/Participants: 82 consecutive patients with isolated femoral shaft fractures (OTA/AO 32) underwent intramedullary rod fixation.
Patients were randomized to receive an intraoperative, post-fixation fracture hematoma injection containing either 20 mL of normal saline or 0.5% ropivacaine in addition to a standardized multimodal pain regimen that included opioids.
Main Outcome Measurements:
Visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores and opioid consumption.
The treatment group demonstrated significantly lower VAS pain scores than the control group in the first 24-hour postoperative period (5.0 vs 6.7, p=0.004), 0-8 hours (5.4 vs 7.0, p=0.013), 8-16 hours (4.9 vs 6.6, p=0.018), and 16-24 hours (4.7 vs 6.6, p=0.010) postoperatively. In addition, the opioid consumption (morphine milligram equivalents) was significantly lower in the treatment group compared to the control group over the first 24-hour postoperative period (43.6 vs 65.9, p=0.008). No adverse effects were observed secondary to the saline or ropivacaine infiltration.
Infiltrating the fracture hematoma with ropivacaine in adult femoral shaft fractures reduced postoperative pain and opioid consumption compared with saline control. This intervention presents a useful adjunct to multimodal analgesia to improve postoperative care in orthopaedic trauma patients.
Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.