Adductor Canal Block or Local Infiltrate Analgesia for Pain Control After Total Knee Arthroplasty? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Published:September 28, 2018DOI:



      Total knee arthroplasty is a treatment option for debilitating arthritis. In the postoperative period, patients experience moderate to severe pain affecting the rehabilitation, hospital stay, and patient satisfaction. This study aims at utilizing current best evidence to determine whether adductor canal block (ACB) or periarticular injection (PAI) is a better modality for managing short-term postoperative pain and opioid consumption.


      Embase, MEDLINE, HealthStar, Emcare, and PubMed were searched for randomized controlled trials from 1946 to August 2018, for literature addressing the comparison of ACB and PAI for pain management in the setting of total knee arthroplasty. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed.


      Six studies were included in our meta-analysis. When examining the combined visual analog scale (VAS) pain values for each group, analysis demonstrated greater reduction in scores for the PAI group, and the difference was statistically significant (P = .001). When comparing the VAS scores of subgroups analyzed at specific periods in time, there was a trend toward lower VAS scores in subgroups analyzed at 24 hours and 48 hours postoperatively (at rest and at movement) in the PAI group. Overall opioid consumption was lower in the PAI group, with demonstrated statistical significance (P = .03). When comparing the postoperative subgroups, there was a trend toward decreased opioid use in the PAI group, with 13.25% less opioid use at 48 hours and 9.5% less opioid use at 24 hours.


      PAI could significantly improve postoperative pain and opioid consumption when compared with ACB. Additional, high-quality studies are required to further address this topic.


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