Postoperative Analgesia in Breast Cancer Surgery: Efficiency and Safety of Ultrasound Guided Erector Spinae Plane Block, a randomized controlled double blinded trial


Maryem Ben Amor
Sofiene Ben Marzouk
Salma Souihli
Bochra Fouzai
Feryel Ben Amor
Hayen Magherbi


Introduction: Breast cancer surgeries are the mainstay and usually the first step of treatment. Aim : To assess the efficiency and safety of ultrasound guided Erector Spinae Plane Block (ESPB) for the management of postoperative pain in patients undergoing elective breast cancer surgery.

Methods: Between December 2018 and June 2019, a prospective, controlled, randomized, double-blinded study was conducted at the maternity and neonatology center of Tunis. We included fifty ASA I-II female patients who were scheduled for elective breast cancer surgery. They were randomly divided into two groups : Group R (n=25) with Ropivacaine, while Group P (n=25) received a placebo. The study recorded PCA morphine consumption and patient demand for PCA. The primary outcome was to compare the visual analogue scale (VAS) pain scores at various points throughout the 24 hours postoperatively (1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 20th, 24th) between the two groups. 

Results : Except for the first hour and 16th hour post-surgery, the mean VAS pain scores were significantly lower in Group R compared to Group P. The 24-hour morphine consumption was significantly lower in Group R (5.5±0.9 mg) compared to Group P (16.6±2.8 mg); p<0.001. Per-operative fentanyl consumption was also significantly lower in Group R (9.1±4.2 mcg; Group P: 50±9.1 mcg; p< 0.001).  Moreover, the mean total morphine demand was significantly lower in Group R. 

Conclusion : ESPB with Ropivacaine is effective and safe for pain management after breast cancer surgery with a consequent morphine sparing and less use of systemic analgesia.


Breast cancer, analgesia, Ropivacaine, erector spinae



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