Moderate-to-severe postoperative pain remains a challenge for both patients and surgeons after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). The purpose of this study was to systematically review the current evidence in the literature to compare adductor canal block (ACB) with femoral nerve block (FNB) in the treatment of ACLR.
A comprehensive search of the published literature in PubMed, Scopus, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases was performed. Only English randomized clinical trials (RCTs) were included in this study. The primary outcome was pain score. Secondary outcome measures included opioid consumption, postoperative adverse events, patient satisfaction, and quadriceps strength.
Eight RCTs with a total of 587 patients were included. No statistically
significant difference was observed between the ACB and FNB groups in pain scores at 6 h, 12 h, 24 h, or 48 h; cumulative opioid consumption at 24 h or 48 h; patient satisfaction at 24 or 48 h; and postoperative adverse event. However, ACB showed superior quadriceps strength in the early postoperative period.
Both treatments provided similar overall pain relief after ACLR. The
potential benefits of quadriceps preservation with ACB are worthy of future study.
Therefore, ACB is recommended as an attractive alternative to FNB as the peripheral nerve block of choice for ACLR.
Level of evidence
Meta-analysis of Level 1 was performed in this study.
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Min, H., Ouyang, Y. & Chen, G. Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with the use of adductor canal block can achieve similar pain control as femoral nerve block. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 28, 2675–2686 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-020-05933-6
- Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
- Adductor canal block
- Femoral nerve block
- Pain control