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Perineural dexamethasone reduces rebound pain after ropivacaine single injection interscalene block for arthroscopic shoulder surgery: a randomized controlled trial
  1. Jae Hee Woo,
  2. Hyun Jung Lee,
  3. Hye-Won Oh,
  4. Jong Wha Lee,
  5. Hee Jung Baik and
  6. Youn Jin Kim
  1. Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, College of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea
  1. Correspondence to Professor Youn Jin Kim, Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Ewha Womans University, College of Medicine, Seoul 07804, Republic of Korea; ankyj{at}


Background and objectives A single injection interscalene block (ISB) is a common regional analgesic technique in patients undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery. However, rebound pain after ISB resolution may reduce its overall benefit. Our primary aim was to assess whether perineural dexamethasone reduces the intensity and incidence of rebound pain in patients undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery under general anesthesia combined with a preoperative single injection ISB.

Methods The patients were randomly assigned to receive single injection ISB using either 0.5% ropivacaine (control) or 0.5% ropivacaine containing 5 mg of dexamethasone. The primary outcomes were the pain score difference before and after ISB resolution, and the incidence of rebound pain. The secondary outcomes were the onset and duration of rebound pain, the presence of sleep disturbances due to postoperative pain, the first time when an analgesic was requested, and pain scores at various predefined time points.

Results Pain increase following ISB resolution was lower in the dexamethasone group compared with the control group (4.5±2.4 and 6.9±2.2, respectively, p<0.001). The incidence of rebound pain was significantly lower in the dexamethasone group compared with the control group (37.1% and 82.9%, respectively, p<0.001). The controls experienced greater sleep disturbance during the postoperative period compared with those who received ISB with perineural dexamethasone.

Conclusions Perineural dexamethasone added to ISB using ropivacaine led to a much smoother resolution of ISB, reflected in a significantly smaller increase in pain after block resolution, a lower incidence of rebound pain and a lower sleep disturbance during the first postoperative week.

Trial registration number Clinical Trial Registry of Korea (KCT0004418).

  • pain
  • postoperative
  • brachial plexus
  • pain management

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • Contributors JHW: methodology, data curation, formal analysis, investigation, and writing the paper; HJL: investigation, methodology; H-WO: investigation, software; JWL: investigation, software; HJB: investigation, YJK: conceptualization, supervision.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.