Controversy still exists regarding the efficiency and safety of liposomal bupivacaine (LB) vs interscalene nerve block (INB) for pain management after total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA). The aim of the present meta-analysis was to perform a relatively credible and overall assessment to compare the efficiency and safety of LB-based infiltration vs INB for pain management after TSA.
The PubMed, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and EMBASE were systematically searched. Only studies published up to March 2018 comparing LB vs INB for pain control after TSA were included. The primary outcome extracted from the studies was postoperative pain score at different periods. The secondary outcomes included total opioid consumption, length of hospital stay, and complications.
Seven studies with 707 patients were included in this study. No statistically significant difference was observed between the LB and INB groups in pain scores at 8 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, postoperative day (POD) 1, and POD 2. The two groups also showed comparable total opioid consumption at POD 0, POD 1, POD 2, and length of hospital stay. The LB group had a significantly higher pain score at 4 hours (standard mean difference =0.65, 95% CI=0.07 to 1.24, P=0.03) but a lower occurrence rate of complications than did the INB group (OR =0.51, 95% CI=0.28 to 0.91, P=0.02).
This meta-analysis revealed that INB provides excellent analgesic effects within 4 hours after TSA, while patients treated with LB infiltration experienced significantly less occurrence rate of complications after TSA. In general, both approaches provide similar overall pain relief and have similar opioid consumption after TSA, with no significant difference in the length of hospital stay. Nevertheless, more high-quality randomized controlled trails with long-term follow-up are still required to make the final conclusion.