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Analgesic Effect of Addition of Pectointercostal Block to Serratus Anterior Plane Block in Breast Surgeries: A Randomized, Controlled Trial

Pain Physician. 2023 Oct;26(6):E679-E685.


BACKGROUND: Ultrasound-guided serratus anterior plane block (SAPB) is an efficient perioperative analgesic modality for breast surgeries. SAPB does not block the anterior cutaneous branches of the intercostal nerves; thus, it does not provide adequate analgesia for the parasternal region and the medial side of the breast. A new parasternal block, the pectointercostal fascial plane block (PIFB) has been developed to overcome this issue.

OBJECTIVES: The study aimed to evaluate the perioperative analgesic effect of using PIFB in addition to SAPB. The primary outcome was to evaluate the postoperative pain score. The secondary outcomes were to assess perioperative opioid requirements, hemodynamic stability, and the satisfaction of the patient and surgeon.

STUDY DESIGN: The current study was a prospective, double-blinded, randomized controlled study. The current study was registered at the Pan-African Clinical Trials Registry (PACTR202001789968542) and was designed after obtaining ethical institutional approval (Institutional Review Board No 00012098, Federalwide Assurance No 00018699).

SETTING: The study involved 60 women between 21 and 69 years old with breast cancer who were scheduled for modified radical mastectomy or conservative breast surgeries in a university hospital.

METHODS: After verbal and informed written consent, the patients were allocated to Group 1, which received SAPB, and Group 2, which received SAPB with PIFB. We assessed the Visual Analog Scale (VAS), perioperative opioid requirements, intraoperative hemodynamic stability, rescue analgesia, and complications. Patient and surgeon satisfaction were surveyed using a questionnaire where one is very dissatisfied and 5 is very satisfied.

RESULTS: Intraoperative mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) and heart rate were significantly lower in Group 2 (SAPB+PIFB). The number of patients who needed intraoperative fentanyl was also significantly lower in Group 2 (SAPB+PIFB) (P value = 0.010). Postoperative VAS showed no significant difference in both groups. The number of patients who needed postoperative rescue morphine, time for the first rescue analgesia, first morphine dose (mg), and total opioid consumption were also comparable for both groups. Patient satisfaction and surgeon satisfaction were comparable for both groups (P values = 1.000 and 0.496, respectively).

LIMITATIONS: VAS was not recorded during movements and no follow-up was done to detect the potential effect on chronic postmastectomy pain. Moreover, after reviewing the literature, there was no efficient data about adding PIFB with different regional blocks for breast surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: The number of patients who needed intraoperative fentanyl, as well as the MABP and heart rate were significantly lower in Group 2 (SAPB+PIFB). Postoperative vital signs, VAS, postoperative analgesic requirements, and opioid consumption were comparable for both groups. Patient satisfaction was comparable for both groups, while surgeon satisfaction was higher in Group 2 (SAPB+PIFB) but statistically not significant.


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