BACKGROUND: Hallux valgus surgery is associated with significant early postoperative pain. The aim of this study was to investigate the use of continuous wound infiltration (CWI) with ropivacaine for pain management after hallux valgus surgery.
METHODS: In this prospective, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled single-center trial, 50 patients undergoing distal metatarsal osteotomy for idiopathic hallux valgus were allocated to CWI with ropivacaine 2 mg/mL at a rate of 2 mL/h or placebo for 24 hours postoperatively. Average and peak pain levels on the verbal numeric rating scale (NRS; 1-10) during the first 48 hours after surgery were recorded as primary outcome parameters. Secondary outcome parameters included consumption of narcotics, clinical outcome, incidence of postoperative complications, and patient satisfaction.
RESULTS: No significant difference in mean ( P = .596) and peak ( P = .353) postoperative pain level was found for CWI with either ropivacaine (mean NRS 1.9 ± 0.8; peak NRS 3.5 ± 2.0) or placebo (mean NRS 2.0 ± 0.7; peak NRS 3.9 ± 1.7) during the early postoperative course. Furthermore, no significant difference between both groups was detected regarding narcotic consumption ( P = .354) and all other secondary outcome parameters. Two severe complications (local dysesthesia with CWI, catheter accidentally fixed by a suture) and 5 catheter dislocations were observed.
CONCLUSION: CWI with ropivacaine 2 mg/mL at a rate of 2 mL/h for 24 hours after hallux valgus surgery did not reduce postoperative pain level in an inpatient setting.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level I, prospective randomized trial.
The study showed that there are no benefit of continuous ropivacaine sound infiltrate in hallux valgus surgery. The question is why would they think that this technique would be beneficial as compared to better established peripheral nerve block techniques?