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Periarticular multimodal analgesia in decreasing perioperative pain in tibial plateau fractures: A double blind randomized controlled pilot study

Published:September 28, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.injury.2022.09.053

      Highlights

      • Multimodal pain injections for tibial plateau fractures appears to have some benefit for post-operative pain control.
      • The use of gel-foam sponges in traumatize soft tissue may not be safe and lead to infection.
      • The use of periarticular multimodal analgesic injections should be further studied in other fractures throughout the musculoskeletal system to determine their benefits.

      Abstract

      Introduction

      The use of periarticular multimodal analgesia injections is increasing and has become commonplace in some surgeries. However, there is no data on the effectiveness of local periarticular multimodal analgesia for tibial plateau fractures. We hypothesized that closed tibial plateau fracture patients receiving the local multimodal analgesic medications would experience a decrease in VAS pain scores.

      Methods

      Patients aged between 18 and 79 with an isolated closed tibial plateau fracture (AO 41-B and C) were prospectively enrolled and randomized in a 1:1 double blinded fashion to either a placebo or active medication treatment arm. After ORIF, gel-foam sponges soaked in either multimodal analgesic solution or normal saline. Patients were followed for 24 h post-operatively with Visual Analog pain Scores (VAS). Patients were monitored post-operatively for complications including compartment syndrome, infection, and non-union.

      Results

      The planned study was terminated prior to completion due to higher than anticipated rates of infection (18%), distributed equally among active (3) and placebo (2) groups, raising concerns that this may have been due to the presence of the delivery device. Twenty-eight patients were enrolled, 15 in the active group and 13 in the placebo group. Patients in the active medication group had significantly decreased pain scores at hours 4 (p = 0.005, 4.2 vs 6.9), 8 (p = 0.05, 5 vs 7), and 12 (p = 0.02, 3.8 vs 6.2). Pain scores at hours 16 (p = 0.10, 4.5 vs 6.5), 20 (p = 0.08, 4.6 vs 6.4), and 24 (p = 0.10, 4.8 vs 6.5) were also decreased but did not reach significance.

      Discussion

      The use of local multimodal periarticular analgesic for closed tibial plateau fractures appears to be beneficial for short-term pain control post-operatively. Concerns regarding an implantable delivery vehicle leading to infection has warranted a change in method of drug administration. Completion of the full study will permit us to validate or refute these findings.

      Level of Evidence

      Therapeutic Level 1

      Keywords

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