Perioperative Truncal Peripheral Nerve Blocks for Bariatric Surgery: An Opioid Reduction Strategy

Published:January 20, 2023DOI:



      Bariatric surgical patients are vulnerable to cardiopulmonary depressant effects of opioids. The enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol to improve postoperative morbidity recommends regional anesthesia for postoperative pain management. However, there is limited evidence that peripheral nerve blocks (PNB) have added benefit.


      Study the effect of PNB on postoperative pain and opioid use following bariatric surgery


      Academic medical center, USA


      We conducted a cohort study of patients who underwent Sleeve Gastrectomy (SG) or Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) surgery. 44 patients received the control ERAS protocol with preoperative oral extended-release morphine sulfate (MS), while 45 patients underwent a PNB with either intrathecal morphine (IM) or oral MS per local ERAS protocol. The PNB group either underwent preoperative bilateral T7 paravertebral (PVT) PNBs (27 patients) with IM or postoperative transversus abdominis plane (TAP) PNBs (18 patients) with oral MS. The primary outcome compared total opioid consumption between the ERAS control group and PNB group up to 48 hours postoperatively. Secondary outcomes included comparison by block type and postoperative pain scores


      PVT or TAP PNB patients had a reduction in mean postoperative oral morphine equivalent (OME) requirements compared to the ERAS protocol cohort at 24 hours (93.9 mg vs 42.8 mg), P-value: <0.0001; at 48 hours (72.6 mg vs 40.5 mg); and in pain scores at 24 hours (5.64/10 vs 4.46/10), P-value: 0.02. OME and pain scores were higher in the SG cohort.


      Addition of truncal PNB to standard ERAS protocol for bariatric surgical patients reduces postoperative total opioid consumption.
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