Effect of Preoperative Versus Postoperative Use of Transversus Abdominis Plane Block With Plain 0.25 % Bupivacaine on Postoperative Opioid Use

A Retrospective Study

Richard Kalu; Peter Boateng; Lauren Carrier; Jaime Garzon; Amy Tang; Craig Reickert; Amalia Stefanou


BMC Anesthesiol. 2021;21(114) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Enhanced recovery protocols optimize pain control via multimodal approaches that include transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of preoperative vs. postoperative plain 0.25 % bupivacaine TAP block on postoperative opioid use after colorectal surgery.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study comparing postoperative opioid use in patients who received preoperative (n = 240) vs. postoperative (n = 22) plain 0.25 % bupivacaine TAP blocks. The study was conducted in a single tertiary care institution and included patients who underwent colorectal resections between August 2018 and January 2020. The primary outcome of the study was postoperative opioid use. Secondary outcomes included operative details, length of stay, reoperation, and readmission rates.

Results: Patients who received postoperative plain 0.25 % bupivacaine TAP blocks were less likely to require postoperative patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) (59.1 % vs. 83.3 %; p = 0.012) and opioid medications on discharge (6.4 % vs. 16.9 %; p = 0.004) relative to patients who received preoperative TAP. When needed, a significantly smaller amount of opioid was prescribed to the postoperative group (84.5 vs. 32.0 mg, p = 0.047). No significant differences were noted in the duration of postoperative PCA use, amount of oral opioid use, and length of stay.

Conclusions: Plain 0.25 % bupivacaine TAP block administered postoperatively was associated with significantly lower need for postoperative PCA and discharge opioid medications. The overall hospital length of stay was not affected by the timing of TAP block. Because of the limited sample size in this study, conclusions cannot be generalized, and more research will be required.