Paravertebral Nerve Block With Liposomal Bupivacaine for Pain Control Following Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery and Thoracotomy

Rachel E. NeMoyer, Enrique Pantin, Joseph Aisner, Robert Jongco, Scott Mellender, Antonio Chiricolo, Dirk F. Moore, John Langenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background: Some surgeons have adopted the use of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) or robotic surgery to perform resections for lung cancer. VATS is associated with less pain and a decrease in pulmonary complications compared with open thoracotomies. Long-acting liposomal bupivacaine (LB) intercostal nerve blocks are reported to provide superior pain relief compared with epidural catheters in the first 3 d after a thoracotomy. This study examined whether LB improves pain after VATS and if it provides effective analgesia after a thoracotomy. Materials and methods: A retrospective review was performed on 151 consecutive patients undergoing a VATS or thoracotomy who received paravertebral nerve blocks. VATS patients received paravertebral nerve blocks with LB (VATS-LB) or 0.25% bupivacaine with epinephrine (BE; VATS-BE). Thoracotomy patients received paravertebral nerve blocks via LB injections. Pain scores, narcotic utilization, complications, and hospital length of stay were examined. Results: Fifty patients underwent a VATS-LB, 53 underwent a VATS-BE, and 32 underwent a thoracotomy. Thoracotomy and VATS-LB patients had pain scores lower than VATS-BE patients in the first 48 h after surgery (P < 0.004). Opioid use was not significantly different between the thoracotomy and VATS-LB patients throughout the first 2 wk postoperatively. Conclusions: LB paravertebral blocks significantly improve postoperative pain in comparison with 0.25% BE blocks in VATS patients. LB paravertebral blocks also provide effective analgesia in patients undergoing thoracotomies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Feb 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


  • Liposomal bupivacaine
  • Paravertebral block
  • VATs

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