Marie-Jacqueline Reisener, Alexander P. Hughes, Ichiro Okano, Jiaqi Zhu, Shuting Lu, Stephan N. Salzmann, Jennifer Shue, Andrew A. Sama, Frank P. Cammisa, Federico P. Girardi, Ellen M. Soffin

May 2021, pp 1 - 8 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06855-8

First Online: 02 May 2021


Anterior (ALIF) and lateral (LLIF) lumbar interbody fusion is associated with significant postoperative pain, opioid consumption and length of stay. Transversus abdominis plane (TAP) blocks improve these outcomes in other surgical subtypes but have not been applied to spine surgery. A retrospective study of 250 patients was performed to describe associations between TAP block and outcomes after ALIF/LLIF.


The electronic medical records of 129 patients who underwent ALIF or LLIF with TAP block were compared to 121 patients who did not. All patients were cared for under a standardized perioperative care pathway with comprehensive multimodal analgesia. Differences in patent demographics, surgical factors, length of stay (LOS), opioid consumption, opioid-related side effects and pain scores were compared in bivariable and multivariable regression analyses.


In bivariable analyses, TAP block was associated with a significantly shorter LOS, less postoperative nausea/vomiting and lower opioid consumption in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). In multivariable analyses, TAP block was associated with significantly shorter LOS (β − 12 h, 95% CI (− 22, − 2 h); p = 0.021). Preoperative opioid use was a strong predictive factor for higher opioid consumption in the PACU, opioid use in the first 24 h after surgery and longer LOS. We did not find significant differences in pain scores at any times between the groups.


TAP block may represent an effective addition to pain management and opioid-reducing strategies and improve outcomes after ALIF/LLIF. Prospective trials are warranted to further explore these associations.

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