Continuous paravertebral block for postoperative pain compared to general anaesthesia and wound infiltration for major oncological breast surgery

E.A.C. Bouman, M. Theunissen, A.G.H. Kessels, K.B.M.I. Keymeulen, E.A.J. Joosten, M.A.E. Marcus, W.F. Buhre, H.F. Gramke

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We hypothesized that improved acute postoperative pain relief will be achieved using general anaesthesia (GA) either in combination with continuous thoracic paravertebral block (GA-cPVB) or single shot (GA-sPVB) as compared to GA supplemented by local wound infiltration (GA-LWI) after unilateral major breast cancer surgery. A randomised controlled trial was conducted in 46 adult women in a day-care or short-stay hospital setting after major breast cancer surgery. Pain-intensity was measured using an 11-point visual analogue scale (VAS) until postoperative day 2. GA-sPVB was stopped due to slow inclusion. No significant difference in VAS score was noted between GA-LWI (VAS median 0.5 (interquartile range 0.18-2.00)) and GA-cPVB, (VAS 0.3 (0.00-1.55, p = 0.195)) 24 hours after surgery or at any point postoperatively until postoperative day 2. We conclude that both GA-LWI and GA-cPVB anaesthetic techniques are equally effective in treatment of acute postoperative pain after major oncological breast surgery. As GA-LWI is easily to perform with fewer complications and it is more cost-effective it should be preferred over GA-cPVB.
Original languageEnglish
Article number517
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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