Though the overall frequency of peripheral nerve block use in outpatient surgery is low, regional anesthesia offers significant positive effects for postoperative outcomes and hospital efficiency metrics, this study finds.
Of 12,911,056 outpatient surgical procedures in the National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry, 3,297,372 (25.5%) were amenable to a peripheral nerve block. However, the overall frequency of its use was only 3.3% of the possible cases.
Procedures generating the highest volume of regional anesthesia were shoulder arthroscopies and anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions, at 41% and 32%, respectively.
It is not clear what is limiting the widespread use of regional anesthesia in outpatient surgical procedures, the researches note. Future studies are needed to identify barriers and to implement methods to increase regional anesthesia volume.