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Nerve Block of the Infrapatellar Branch of the Saphenous Nerve in Knee ArthroscopyA Prospective, Double-Blinded, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
Lawrence P. Hsu, MD1; Sanders Oh, BS2; Gordon W. Nuber, MD1; Robert Doty, Jr., MD3; Mark C. Kendall, MD3; Stephen Gryzlo, MD1; Antoun Nader, MD3
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 676 North St. Claire Avenue, Suite 1350, Chicago, IL 60611
2 Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 420 East Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60611
3 Department of Anesthesiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 251 East Huron Street, Feinberg 5-704, Chicago, IL 60611
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Investigation performed at the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Anesthesiology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois



Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 Aug 21;95(16):1465-1472. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.01534
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Abstract

Background: 

With the rising use of outpatient knee arthroscopy over the past decade, interest in peripheral nerve blocks during arthroscopy has increased. Femoral nerve blocks are effective but are associated with an inherent risk of the patient falling postoperatively because of quadriceps weakness. We studied blocks of the infrapatellar branch of the saphenous nerve, which produce analgesia in the knee that is similar to that resulting from a femoral nerve block but without associated quadriceps weakness.

Methods: 

Thirty-four patients were enrolled into each arm of this prospective, randomized, double-blinded trial comparing 10 mL of 0.25% bupivacaine used as a block of the infrapatellar branch of the saphenous nerve with a placebo during simple knee arthroscopy. Immediate outcome measures included Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) pain scores (0 to 10 points), mobility and discharge times, opioid usage, subjective adverse side effects, and forty-eight-hour anesthesia recovery surveys. Short-term measures included one-week and twelve-week Lysholm knee scores.

Results: 

No adverse effects or increased quadriceps weakness were observed following use of the nerve block. Improvement in early NRS scores and subjective nausea (p = 0.03) were detected. Patients for whom the block was successful also had improved twelve-week Lysholm knee scores (p = 0.04). No differences in opioid usage, mobility time, forty-eight-hour anesthesia recovery scores, or one-week Lysholm knee scores were found.

Conclusions: 

No significant adverse effect or disadvantage was identified for blocks of the infrapatellar branch of the saphenous nerve used in simple knee arthroscopy. In addition to decreased early NRS scores and nausea, blocks of the infrapatellar branch of the saphenous nerve demonstrated potential benefit at twelve weeks after simple knee arthroscopy.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    References

    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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