Ultrasound-guided selective sensory nerve blockade (SSNB) of the knee, including an adductor canal block (ACB), anterior femoral cutaneous nerve block, and infiltration between the popliteal artery and posterior capsule of the knee may provide effective motor-sparing knee analgesia for total knee arthroplasty (TKA). We hypothesized that the SSNB would manage pain better on ambulation 24 hours postoperatively compared to periarticular infiltration (PAI), when combined with postoperative continuous ACB.
Seventy-two patients undergoing elective TKA under spinal anesthesia were randomly assigned to either SSNB (SSNB group) or intraoperative PAI (PAI group). All patients received postoperative multimodal analgesia, including continuous ACB. The primary outcome was pain on ambulation 24 hours postoperatively. Secondary outcomes included rest and dynamic numerical rating scale pain score, intravenous morphine requirement, functional performance measures, adverse events, satisfaction, and length of stay.
There was no difference in pain score during movement between the groups (mean difference -0.48 [-1.38 to 0.42], p = 0.3) and other immediate overall pain scores 24 hours postoperatively. Patients in the SSNB group had significantly lower intravenous morphine requirement than the PAI group for 48 hours postoperatively (0 [0, 0] vs. 0 [0, 2]; p = 0.008). There was no intergroup difference in the performance-based measures, satisfaction, and length of stay.
The SSNB did not provide superior postoperative analgesia, or improvement in immediate functional performance. However, it may result in lower opioid consumption postoperatively when compared with the intraoperative PAI.

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