The purpose of this single-blinded, randomized, controlled trial was to compare the analgesic efficacy of intra-articular injections of bupivacaine or ropivacaine with that of no injection for postoperative pain control after the operative treatment of supracondylar humeral fractures in a pediatric population.Methods:
Subjects (n = 124) were randomized to treatment with 0.25% bupivacaine (Group B) (n = 42), 0.20% ropivacaine (Group R) (n = 39), or no injection (Group C) (n = 43). The opioid doses and the times of administration as well as child-reported pain severity (Faces Pain Scale-Revised) and parent-reported pain severity (Total Quality Pain Management survey) were recorded.Results:
The proportion of subjects who required morphine and/or fentanyl injections was significantly (p = 0.004) lower in Group B (10%) as compared with Group R (36%) and Group C (44%). On the basis of the log-rank test, the opioid-free survival rates were significantly greater in Group B as compared to Groups C and R. Total opioid consumption (morphine equivalent mg/kg) in the first seventy-two hours postoperatively was significantly less in Group B as compared with Group C (mean difference, 0.225; [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.0152 to 0.435]; p = 0.036). Parent-reported pain scores were also significantly lower in Group B as compared with both Group C (mean difference, 1.81 [95% CI, 0.38 to 3.25]; p = 0.014) and Group R (mean difference, 1.66; 95% CI, 0.20 to 3.12; p = 0.027). There were no significant differences across the three groups in terms of self-reported pain. Differences between Groups R and C were not significant for any of the outcome variables.Conclusions:
The intra-articular injection of 0.25% bupivacaine significantly improves postoperative pain control following the closed reduction and percutaneous pinning of supracondylar humeral fractures in pediatric patients.Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.