A Randomized Controlled Trial Studying the Role of Dexamethasone in Scalp Nerve Blocks for Supratentorial Craniotomy

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Abstract

Background:

The aim of this double-blinded randomized control study was to examine the role of the steroid dexamethasone as an adjuvant to lignocaine and ropivacaine in scalp nerve blocks in adults undergoing supratentorial craniotomy under general anesthesia. We compared the intraoperative anesthetic and postoperative analgesic requirement with and without the addition of dexamethasone to the local anesthetics.

Methods:

The consented 90 patients were randomized into 2 groups: one group received 8 mg (2 mL) of dexamethasone, whereas the other received 2 mL of normal saline along with the local anesthetics in the scalp nerve block administered soon after induction of general anesthesia. All patients received oral/intravenous dexamethasone perioperatively to decrease cerebral edema. The general anesthetic technique for induction, maintenance, and recovery was standardized in the 2 groups. The primary outcome assessed was the time to administration of the first dose of analgesic postoperatively. The secondary outcomes included intraoperative opioid requirement, time to emergence, and incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting.

Results:

There was no significant difference between the dexamethasone and saline groups with respect to time to first analgesic requirement, intraoperative fentanyl requirements, time to emergence from general anesthesia, and incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting.

Conclusions:

Addition of dexamethasone as an adjuvant to local anesthetics in scalp nerve blocks in the setting of perioperative steroid therapy does not appear to provide any additional benefit with respect to prolongation of the duration of the block.

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