Perioperative truncal peripheral nerve blocks for bariatric surgery: an opioid reduction strategy

Nicholas Schott, Jauhleene Chamu, Noor Ahmed, Bestoun H. Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Bariatric surgical patients are vulnerable to cardiopulmonary depressant effects of opioids. The enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol to improve postoperative morbidity recommends regional anesthesia for postoperative pain management. However, there is limited evidence that peripheral nerve blocks (PNB) have added benefit. Objective: Study the effect of PNB on postoperative pain and opioid use following bariatric surgery. Setting: Academic medical center, United States. Methods: We conducted a cohort study of patients who underwent sleeve gastrectomy (SG) or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. A total of 44 patients received the control ERAS protocol with preoperative oral extended-release morphine sulfate (MS), while 45 patients underwent a PNB with either intrathecal morphine (IM) or oral MS per local ERAS protocol. The PNB group either underwent preoperative bilateral T7 paravertebral (PVT) PNBs (27 patients) with IM or postoperative transversus abdominis plane (TAP) PNBs (18 patients) with oral MS. The primary outcome compared total opioid consumption between the ERAS control group and the PNB group up to 48 hours postoperatively. Secondary outcomes included comparison by block type and postoperative pain scores. Results: PVT or TAP PNB patients had a reduction in mean postoperative oral morphine equivalent (OME) requirements compared with the ERAS protocol cohort at 24 hours (93.9 versus 42.8 mg), P < .0001; at 48 hours (72.6 versus 40.5 mg); and in pain scores at 24 hours (5.64/10 versus 4.46/10), P = .02. OME and pain scores were higher in the SG cohort. Conclusion: Addition of truncal PNB to standard ERAS protocol for bariatric surgical patients reduces postoperative total opioid consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-857
Number of pages7
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthesia
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Enhanced recovery after surgery
  • Gastric bypass
  • Opioid
  • Paravertebral block
  • Peripheral nerve block
  • Regional
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Transversus abdominis plane block

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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