, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 602-607

Suprascapular nerve block as a method of preemptive pain control in shoulder surgery

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Abstract

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect of suprascapular nerve block (SSNB) in shoulder surgery. The study group consisted of 260 patients, which were subjected to shoulder operations. The patients were divided into two equal groups: group I with nerve block compared to a control group II without a nerve block. The mean age of the patients in group I was 56.2 ± 6.86 years and that in group II was 54.5 ± 7.06 years. The female to male ratio was 71:59 in group I and was 69:61 in group II. Surgical procedures were arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, arthroscopic subacromial decompression, arthroscopic acromioclavicular resection, arthroscopic removal of calcific tendonitis, arthroscopic reconstruction of instability, arthroscopic capsular release and shoulder replacement. In all cases the pain was documented by the visual analogue scale (VAS) preoperative, at the first, the second as well as at the third day after surgery. In order to evaluate the amount of fluid, which is needed for infiltration of the area of the supraspinatus fossa, we injected different amount of local anesthetic in combination with contrast dye in five patients. In this study to document the fluid distribution, after injecting with different milliliters, 10 ml is proved to be more than enough to have sufficient local anesthetic to block the SSN. Pre-operatively the mean VAS was comparable between both groups. We documented a significant difference in favour of SSNB from day 1 to day 3 after surgery. No specific complications due to this nerve block procedure were found in any patient post-operatively.