Acta Orthopaedica, 86:6, 647-653, DOI: 10.3109/17453674.2015.1081340

Local infiltration analgesia is not improved by postoperative intra-articular bolus injections for pain after total hip arthroplasty

Karen V Andersen, Lone Nikolajsen, Henrik Daugaard, Niels T Andersen, Viggo Haraldsted & Kjeld Søballe

Background and purpose — The effect of postoperative intra-articular bolus injections after total hip arthroplasty (THA) remains unclear. We tested the hypothesis that intra-articular bolus injections administered every 6 hours after surgery during the first 24 hours would significantly improve analgesia after THA.

Patients and methods — 80 patients undergoing THA received high-volume local infiltration analgesia (LIA; 200 mg ropivacaine and 30 mg ketorolac) followed by 4 intra-articular injections with either ropivacaine (100 mg) and ketorolac (15 mg) (the treatment group) or saline (the control group). The intra-articular injections were combined with 4 intravenous injections of either saline (treatment group) or 15 mg ketorolac (control group). All patients received morphine as patient-controlled analgesia (PCA). The primary outcome was consumption of intravenous morphine PCA and secondary outcomes were consumption of oral morphine, pain intensity, side effects, readiness for hospital discharge, length of hospital stay, and postoperative consumption of analgesics at 3, 6, and 12 weeks after surgery.

Results — There were no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups regarding postoperative consumption of intravenous morphine PCA. Postoperative pain scores during walking were higher in the treatment group from 24–72 hours after surgery, but other pain scores were similar between groups. Time to readiness for hospital discharge was longer in the treatment group. Other secondary outcomes were similar between groups.

Interpretation — Postoperative intra-articular bolus injections of ropivacaine and ketorolac cannot be recommended as analgesic method after THA.

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