The addition of a transversus abdominis plane block to standard enhanced recovery pathway protocols decreased lengths of stay to less than 3 days in roughly two-thirds of patients who underwent laparoscopic colectomy, findings from a small study showed.
To determine the impact of a TAP block on rates of discharge for colorectal laparoscopic surgery, researchers at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland observed 100 consecutive patients who underwent the elective procedure performed over a 1-year period by the same experienced laparoscopic colorectal surgeon. The TAP block was administered at the conclusion of the laparoscopic procedure.
The mean age of the study population was 60.5 years, and 62 were female. The mean body mass index was 28.4 kg/m². Surgical indications in two-thirds of patients included colorectal cancer or polyp. One-third of patients had an inflammatory condition such as diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, said Dr. Joanne Favuzza and Dr. Conor P. Delaney (J. Am. Coll. Surg. 2013;217:503-6).
The investigators found that 62% of patients were discharged within 48 hours, with 27% being discharged on day 1. No operative mortality was reported, and only one patient experienced a complication post discharge. Two patients were readmitted, both having had lengths of stay exceeding 48 hours.
Incidence rates of complication or readmission were not significantly affected by the block. Eight patients experienced postoperative complications: one patient on the second day post surgery, another patient on the third day, and the rest after the fourth day. Three patients had complications involving the ileus or lower-bowel obstruction, four patients had anastomotic or gastrointestinal bleed, and one had a urinary tract infection.
"This study demonstrated that the addition of a TAP block to an established ERP can reproducibly reduce length of stay to less than 3 days," wrote Dr. Favuzza and Dr. Delaney, who also noted that a prospective randomized controlled trial is underway to further evaluate the benefits of TAP blocks to ERP in colorectal surgery.
Dr. Favuzza reported no relevant disclosures. Dr. Delaney is a paid a consultant to Adolor Corp., Ferring Pharmaceuticals, and Pacira Pharmaceuticals.