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AIM: Advances in laparoscopic techniques combined with enhanced recovery pathways have led to faster recuperation and discharge after colorectal surgery. Peripheral nerve blockade using transversus abdominis plane (TAP) blocks reduce opioid requirements and provide better analgesia for laparoscopic colectomies than do inactive controls. This double-blind randomized study was performed to compare TAP blocks using bupivacaine with standardized wound infiltration with local anaesthetic (LA). METHOD: Seventy-one patients were randomized to receive either TAP block or wound infiltration. The TAP blocks were performed by experienced anaesthetists who used ultrasound guidance to deliver 40 ml of 0.25% bupivacaine post-induction into the transverse abdominis plane. In the control group, 40 ml of 0.25% bupivacaine was injected around the trocar and the extraction site by the surgeon. Both groups received patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) with intravenous morphine. Patients and nursing staff assessed pain scores 6, 12, 24 and 48 h after surgery. The primary outcome was overall morphine use in the first 48 h. RESULTS: Of the 71 patients, 20 underwent a right hemicolectomy and 51 a high anterior resection. The modified intention-to-treat analysis showed no significant differences in overall morphine use [47.3 (36.2-58.5) mg vs 46.7 (36.2-57.3) mg; mean (95% CI), P = 0.8663] in the first 48 h. Pain scores were similar at 6, 12, 24 and 48 h. No differences were found regarding time to mobilization, resumption of diet and length of hospital stay. CONCLUSION: In elective laparoscopic colectomies, standardized wound infiltration with LA has the same analgesic effect as TAP blocks post-induction using bupivacaine at 48 h.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





681 - 689


TAP block, enhanced recovery, laparoscopic colonic surgery, local anaesthetics, wound infiltration, Aged, Anesthetics, Local, Bupivacaine, Colectomy, Double-Blind Method, Female, Humans, Laparoscopy, Male, Middle Aged, Nerve Block, Pain Measurement, Pain, Postoperative, Surgical Wound, Treatment Outcome, Ultrasonography, Interventional