, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 1517-1528
Date: 09 Jun 2013

Single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine after knee arthroscopic surgery: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled studies

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The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the efficacy and safety of single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine in the management of pain after knee arthroscopic surgery.


The comprehensive literature search, using MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Embase databases, was conducted to identify randomized controlled trials that used single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine for postoperative pain. The relative risk (RR), weighted mean difference (WMD), and their corresponding 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using RevMan® statistical software.


Twenty-three studies (n = 1287) were included (647 subjects in bupivacaine group and 640 subjects in the control group). Statistically significant differences were observed in the VAS values (WMD −1.1; 95 % CI −1.7 to −0.5), number of patients requiring supplementary analgesia (RR 0.83; 95 % CI 0.74–0.94), and time to first analgesic request (WMD 129.3; 95 % CI 15.4–243.1) among the bupivacaine group when compared to the control group. However, short-term side effects had no significant difference between these two groups (RR 0.73; 95 % CI 0.44–1.24).


On the basis of the currently available literature, single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine was shown to be significantly better than placebo at relieving pain after knee arthroscopic surgery. More high-quality randomized controlled trials with long follow-up are highly required for examining the safety of single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine. Besides, routine use of single-dose intra-articular bupivacaine is still an effective way for pain management after knee arthroscopic surgery.

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