The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 31, Issue 11, 2603 - 2607

Postoperative Pain Management After Primary Total Knee Arthroplasty: The Value of Liposomal Bupivacaine

Sporer, Scott M. et al.


Multimodal pain protocols have been proposed to achieve improved long-acting postoperative analgesia. Controlling postoperative pain after joint arthroplasty is especially important as it relates to patient satisfaction and outcomes. The purpose of this study was to compare the postoperative pain, time to ambulation, and overall narcotic usage between patients who received either a femoral nerve block with a periarticular bupivacaine injection or a periarticular bupivacaine and extended-release liposomal bupivacaine injection after primary total knee arthroplasty.


A total of 597 consecutive primary total knee arthroplasties performed between September 1, 2012 and August 31, 2014 received preoperative celecoxib, oxycodone, and transdermal scopolamine. Intraoperatively, patients either received a single-dose bupivacaine femoral nerve block along with 30-mL 0.25% bupivacaine periarticular injection (group A) or a 60-mL periarticular injection alone (20-mL liposomal bupivacaine, 30-mL 0.25% bupivacaine, and 10-mL saline; group B). The postoperative pain scores, narcotic usage, and time to ambulation were retrospectively collected from the electronic medical record. These outcomes were compared between treatment groups.


There were 325 patients in group A compared with 272 in group B during the time frame. There was no difference among age, gender, race, and body mass index between the groups. Group B demonstrated a decreased need for breakthrough pain medication (16.9% vs 36.3% P < .001), decreased pain 12 hours postoperatively (3.2 vs 3.6 P < .003), and an earlier time to ambulation (29.5 hours vs 32.2 hours, P < .017). There was no difference in hospital length of stay (2.8 vs 2.6 days, P = .123). On controlling for demographic factors, patients in group B were able to ambulate 2.3 hours earlier than those in group A (coefficient = −2.3, P = .049).


Liposomal bupivacaine resulted in a decrease need for breakthrough pain medication, improved pain scores at 12 hours, and an earlier time to ambulation compared to a combined femoral nerve block and periarticular bupivacaine injection.

Download article