Multimodal infiltration of local anaesthetic in total knee arthroplasty; is posterior capsular infiltration worth the risk?: A PROSPECTIVE, DOUBLE-BLIND, RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIAL

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Abstract

Aims

Multimodal infiltration of local anaesthetic provides effective control of pain in patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty (TKA). There is little information about the added benefits of posterior capsular infiltration (PCI) using different combinations of local anaesthetic agents. Our aim was to investigate the effectiveness of the control of pain using multimodal infiltration with and without infiltration of the posterior capsule of the knee.

Patients and Methods

In a double-blind, randomised controlled trial of patients scheduled for unilateral primary TKA, 86 were assigned to be treated with multimodal infiltration with (Group I) or without (Group II) PCI. Routine associated analgesia included the use of bupivacaine, morphine, ketorolac and epinephrine. All patients had spinal anaesthesia and patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) post-operatively. A visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain and the use of morphine were recorded 24 hours post-operatively. Side effects of the infiltration, blood loss, and length of stay in hospital were recorded.

Results

There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in relation to: VAS pain scores in the first 24 hours post-operatively (p = 0.693), the use of morphine in the PCA (p = 0.647), blood loss (p = 0.625), and length of stay (p = 0.17). There were no neurovascular complications in either group.

Conclusion

The multimodal infiltration of local anaesthetic with infiltration of the posterior capsule did not provide significant added analgesic benefits or reduce the use of morphine after TKA. Multimodal infiltration is a satisfactory technique for the management of pain in these patients without the attendant risks of PCI.

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