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Comparison of Paravertebral Block by Anatomic Landmark Technique to Ultrasound-Guided Paravertebral Block for Breast Surgery Anesthesia: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  1. Rupali Patnaik, MD*,
  2. Anjolie Chhabra, MD*,
  3. Rajeshwari Subramaniam, MD*,
  4. Mahesh K. Arora, MD*,
  5. Devalina Goswami, MD*,
  6. Anurag Srivastava, MS,
  7. Vuthaluru Seenu, MS and
  8. Anita Dhar, MS
  1. *Department of Anesthesiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  2. Department of Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  1. Address correspondence to: Anjolie Chhabra, MD, House No. 13, Road No. 61, W Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi 110026, India (e-mail: anjolie5{at}


Background and Objectives Paravertebral block (PVB) is an established technique for providing anesthesia for breast surgery. The primary objective was to compare anatomical landmark technique (ALT) to the ultrasound-guided (USG) PVB block for providing surgical anesthesia. Secondary objectives included comparison of perioperative analgesia and complications.

Methods This randomized, controlled, observer-blinded study included 72 females, aged 18 to 65 years, American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status I or II, undergoing elective unilateral breast surgery. Study participants were randomized to the ALT group or USG group. Ipsilateral PVB was performed with the respective technique from T1 to T6. Five milliliters of local anesthetic mixture (0.5% ropivacaine, 5 μg/mL adrenaline, 1 μg/kg clonidine) was administered at each level. Paravertebral catheter was inserted at T4/T3 level. After confirming sensory loss, patients were taken up for surgery with propofol sedation (20–50 μg/kg per minute).

Results More patients in the USG group (34/36 [94.44%]) had a successful block as compared with the ALT group (26/36 [72.22%]) (P = 0.024). Difference in proportion was 18.1 (95% confidence interval, 0.15–36.0) (P = 0.024) after adjustment for age. More dermatomes were blocked in the USG group (P = 0.0018) with less sparing of upper T2 and T3 dermatomes (P = 0.003, P = 0.006, respectively). Median time to first postoperative analgesic requirement was 502.5 minutes (range, 195–1440 minutes) in the USG group versus 377.5 minutes (range, 215–1440 minutes) in the ALT group. Pain at rest and movement 2 and 4 hours postoperatively and number of catheter top-ups in 24 hours postoperatively were lesser in the USG group (P = 0.012). Complications were comparable.

Conclusions Ultrasound-guided PVB provided better anesthesia and perioperative analgesia than the landmark technique for breast surgery.

Clinical Trial Registration The trial was registered retrospectively at the Clinical Trial Registry of India, CTRI/2015/05/005774.

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  • Resources used were from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.

    The authors declare no conflict of interest.