The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 7, S164 - S167

Effect of Adductor Canal Block on Acute Perioperative Pain and Function in Total Knee Arthroplasty

Richard D. Rames, Toby N. Barrack, Robert L. Barrack, Ryan M. Nunley


Multimodal pain management strategies are commonplace in perioperative management of total knee arthroplasty (TKA), although controversy remains regarding the role of adductor canal blocks (ACB) in this algorithm. The purpose of this study is to independently evaluate the effect of ACB on short-term postoperative outcomes including (1) length of stay (LOS), (2) postoperative narcotic utilization, and (3) function with physical therapy in the era of modern TKA.


We retrospectively identified a cohort of consecutive patients from January 2014 to January 2018 who had undergone unilateral primary TKA using a single-shot ACB in addition to a standardized multimodal pain regimen vs those who only received a multimodal pain regimen. These 2 groups were compared using independent sample t-tests with primary end points of interest being LOS, distance ambulated with therapy, and inpatient narcotic use.


There were 624 patients in the ACB group, with a mean age of 64.5 years. The group without ACB consisted of 69 patients, with a mean age of 67.2 years. We observed no significant difference in narcotic utilization postoperatively (2.361 vs 2.097, P = .088). The ACB group ambulated significantly further with therapy (75.8 vs 59.9 ft, P = .008) and had a shorter LOS in both total hours and percentage of postoperative day 1 (%POD1) discharges (34.8 vs 40.6 hours, P = .01, 83% vs 66.6%, P = .01).


ACB did not decrease postoperative pain medication utilization. The modest improvement in distance ambulated with therapy on POD1 (16 ft) and LOS (16% greater POD1 discharges) may not support the cost-effectiveness of this intervention.

Level of Evidence

III, Retrospective Cohort.

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