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Periarticular Local Anesthesia does not Improve Pain or Mobility after THA

  • Clinical Research
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Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®



Periarticular infiltration of local anesthetic, NSAIDs, and adrenaline have been reported to reduce postoperative pain, improve mobility, and reduce hospital stay for patients having THAs, but available studies have not determined whether local anesthetic infiltration alone achieves similar improvements.


We therefore asked whether periarticular injection of a local anesthetic during THA reduced postoperative pain and opioid requirements and improved postoperative mobility.


We randomized 96 patients to either treatment (n = 50) or control groups (n = 46). Before wound closure, the treatment group received local infiltration of 160 mL of levobupivacaine with adrenaline. The control group received no local infiltration. We assessed postoperative morphine consumption and pain during the 24 hours after surgery. Mobilization was assessed 24 hours postoperatively with supine-to-sit and sit-to-stand transfers, timed 10-m walk test, and timed stair ascent and descent. Patients and assessing physiotherapists were blind to study status.


We observed no differences in postoperative morphine consumption, time to ascend and descend stairs, or ability to transfer between treatment and control groups. The treatment group reported more pain 7 to 12 hours postoperatively, but there were no differences in pain scores between groups at all other postoperative intervals. The treatment group showed increased postoperative walking speed greater than 6 m, but not greater than 10 m, compared with the control group.


Periarticular infiltration of local anesthetic during THA did not reduce postoperative pain or length of hospital stay and did not improve early postoperative mobilization.

Level of Evidence

Level I, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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We thank Sonia Derbyshire, RGN for assistance with patient recruitment and data collection. We also thank Mike Stevenson BSc, PGCHET, FSS, Centre for Medical Education, Queens University, Belfast, for statistical advice.

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Correspondence to D. Bennett PhD.

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Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.

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Dobie, I., Bennett, D., Spence, D.J. et al. Periarticular Local Anesthesia does not Improve Pain or Mobility after THA. Clin Orthop Relat Res 470, 1958–1965 (2012).

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