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Preoperative pudendal block with liposomal and plain bupivacaine reduces pain associated with posterior colporrhaphy: a double-blinded, randomized controlled trial

Published:August 30, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2021.08.034

      Background

      Pelvic reconstructive surgery may cause significant postoperative pain, especially with posterior colporrhaphy, contributing to a longer hospital stay and increased pain medication utilization. Regional blocks are being increasingly utilized in gynecologic surgery to improve postoperative pain and decrease opioid usage, yet preoperative pudendal blocks have not been used routinely during posterior colporrhaphy.

      Objective

      This study aimed to compare the effect of preoperative regional pudendal nerve block using a combination of 1.3% liposomal and 0.25% plain bupivacaine vs 0.25% plain bupivacaine alone on vaginal pain after posterior colporrhaphy on postoperative days 1, 2, and 3. We hypothesized that there would be a reduction in vaginal pain scores for the study group vs the control group over the first 72 hours.

      Study Design

      This was a double-blinded, randomized controlled trial that included patients undergoing a posterior colporrhaphy, either independently or in conjunction with other vaginal or abdominal reconstructive procedures. Patients were block randomized to receive 20 mL of either a combination of 1.3% liposomal and 0.25% plain bupivacaine (study) or 20 mL of 0.25% plain bupivacaine (control) in a regional pudendal block before the start of surgery. Double blinding was achieved by covering four 5-mL syringes containing the randomized local anesthetic. After induction of anesthesia, a pudendal nerve block was performed per standard technique (5 mL superiorly and 5 mL inferiorly each ischial spine) using a pudendal kit. The primary outcome was to evaluate postoperative vaginal pain using a visual analog scale on postoperative days 1, 2, and 3. Secondary outcomes included total analgesic medication usage through postoperative day 3, postoperative voiding and defecatory dysfunction, and impact of vaginal pain on quality of life factors.

      Results

      A total of 120 patients were enrolled (60 in each group). There were no significant differences in demographic data, including baseline vaginal pain (P=.88). Postoperative vaginal pain scores were significantly lower in the combined liposomal and bupivacaine group at all time points vs the plain bupivacaine group. Median pain scores for the study and control groups, respectively, were 0 (0–2) and 2 (0–4) for postoperative day 1 (P=.03), 2 (1–4) and 3 (2–5) for postoperative day 2 (P=.05), and 2 (1–4) and 3 (2–5) for postoperative day 3 (P=.02). Vaginal pain scores increased from postoperative day 1 to postoperative days 2 and 3 in both groups. There was a significant decrease in ibuprofen (P=.01) and acetaminophen (P=.03) usage in the study group; however, there was no difference between groups in total opioid consumption through postoperative day 3 (P=.82). There was no difference in successful voiding trials (study 72%, control 82%, P=.30), return of bowel function (P>.99), or quality of life factors (sleep, stress, mood, and activity).

      Conclusion

      Preoperative regional pudendal block with a combination of liposomal and plain bupivacaine provided more effective vaginal pain control than plain bupivacaine alone for reconstructive surgery that included posterior colporrhaphy. Given the statistically significant decrease in vaginal pain in the study group, this block may be considered as a potential adjunct for multimodal pain reduction in this patient population.

      Key words

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