Comparison of Ultrasonography-guided Bilateral Intercostal Nerve Blocks and Conventional Patient-controlled Intravenous Analgesia for Pain Control After the Nuss Procedure in Children: A Prospective Randomized Study

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Patients experience severe pain after pectus excavatum (PE) surgery. The aim of this prospective, randomized study was to compare analgesic effects of ultrasonography-guided bilateral intercostal nerve blocks (UG-ICNBs) with those of conventional patient-controlled intravenous analgesia (PCIA) on acute pain after the Nuss procedure for PE repair in children.


A prospective randomized study was performed in children with PE who were scheduled for the Nuss procedure. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either UG-ICNBs or PCIA for postoperative analgesia. Faces Pain Scale-Revised scores, opioid consumption, analgesia-associated side effects (respiratory depression, pruritus, nausea, vomiting) during the first 24 hours, and lengths of stay in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) and hospital were recorded after the surgery.


Sixty-two children undergoing the Nuss procedure were enrolled in the trial. Faces Pain Scale-Revised scores were significantly decreased in the UG-ICNBs group compared with the PCIA group for up to 6 hours after surgery. The opioid doses required in the PACU and during the first 24 hours after surgery were significantly greater in the PCIA group compared with the UG-ICNBs group. Accordingly, patients in the UG-ICNBs group showed a lower incidence of analgesia-associated side effects and faster PACU discharge compared with the PCIA group.


Our study suggests that UG-ICNBs might be more effective than PCIA for postoperative analgesia in children who undergo the Nuss procedure for PE.

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