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Trends of liposomal bupivacaine utilization in major lower extremity total joint arthroplasty in the USA: a population-based study


Introduction Liposomal bupivacaine has been marketed for the achievement of long-acting local or regional anesthesia after major lower extremity total joint arthroplasty. However, it is comparatively expensive and controversy remains regarding its ability to decrease healthcare costs. With mounting evidence suggesting non-superiority in efficacy, compared with plain bupivacaine, we sought to investigate trends in liposomal bupivacaine use and identify changes in practice.

Methods We identified adult patients from the Premier Healthcare Database who underwent elective total joint arthroplasty between 2012 and 2021. Prevalence and trends of liposomal bupivacaine utilization were compared on the individual patient and hospital levels. Log-rank tests were performed to assess the influence of location, teaching status, or hospital size on time to hospital-level liposomal bupivacaine termination.

Results Among 103,165 total joint arthroplasty cases, liposomal bupivacaine use increased between 2012 and 2015 (from 0.4% to 22.8%) and decreased by approximately 1%–3% annually thereafter (15.7% in 2021). Liposomal bupivacaine was ever used in approximately 60% of hospitals. Hospital-level initiation of liposomal bupivacaine use peaked in 2014 and decreased thereafter (from 32.8% in 2013 to 4.3% in 2021), while termination rates increased (from 1.4% in 2014 to 9.9% in 2019). Non-teaching hospitals and those located in the South and West regions were more likely to retain liposomal bupivacaine longer than teaching or Midwest/Northeast hospitals, respectively (p=0.023 and p=0.014).

Discussion Liposomal bupivacaine use peaked around 2015 and has been declining thereafter on individual patient and hospital levels. How these trends correlate with health outcomes and expenditures would be a strategic target for future research.

  • Anesthesia, Local
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Pharmacology
  • Economics

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