Background and Objectives In an effort to further decrease postoperative opioid requirements and improve analgesia in patients undergoing elective knee joint replacement, a study was made of the effectiveness of adding morphine to an intra-articular bupivacaine injection given immediately following surgery.
Methods In random, double-blind fashion, 75 patients received a 31-mL intra-articular injection consisting of either 30 mL 0.5% bupivacaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine and 1 mL normal saline (group BUP), 30 mL 0.5% bupivacaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine and 1 mg (1 mL) preservative-free morphine (group BUP-MORPH), or 30 mL normal saline with 1:200,000 epinephrine and 1 mg preservative-free morphine (group MORPH). Postoperative analgesia was supplied by patient controlled analgesia (PCA) with morphine. Patients were assessed at 1, 2, 4, and 24 hours for pain (visual analog and verbal rating scales), morphine utilization, and side effects. Knee range of motion was measured before operation and at hospital discharge.
Results There was no difference among the three groups in PCA morphine requirements, pain scores by either scale, range of motion, or incidence of side effects, including somnolence, urinary retention, nausea and vomiting, and pruritus.
Conclusion The addition of 1 mg morphine to an intra-articular injection of 30 mL 0.5% bupivacaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine given at wound closure does not improve analgesia in patients undergoing elective knee joint replacement.
- intra-articular injection
- knee arthroplasty
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Supported in part by a grant from the Physicians' Services Incorporated Foundation.