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A study performed at Virginia Mason demonstrates that continuous adductor canal blocks reduce postoperative pain in total knee arthroplasty patients. The study, recently published in Anesthesia & Analgesia, was the first of its kind to evaluate the opioid-sparing benefits of a continuous 0.2% ropivacaine infusion at the adductor canal.

“In addition to lowering the amount of morphine required to reduce pain, we improved post-operative outcomes, including improvements in the ability to ambulate and the amount of pain experienced at both rest and with activity,” says David Auyong, MD, Virginia Mason anesthesiologist. The study also showed that patients receiving the nerve block were more likely than those who received a sham catheter to say they were satisfied with their pain from the procedure.

According to a recent article in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, the national average length of stay after knee replacements is more than 3.5 days. “Our innovations with nerve blocks are allowing some patients to go home on day one, while we’ve lowered the average stay to two days,” says Dr. Auyong. “Due to the results of the study, patients are spending less time in the hospital and are less likely to require home health services.” Virginia Mason is the only medical center in the region that administers continuous nerve blocks for total knee arthroplasty.

“The protocol is completely standardized with all facets of the care team contributing to optimize patient care,” says Neil Hanson, MD, anesthesiologist at Virginia Mason. “As a result, we’re able to maintain quality across the board on every single knee replacement that’s done here.”

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