BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Although a continuous interscalene nerve block (CISB) has been shown to provide potent analgesia after major shoulder surgery, its potential effects on postoperative rehabilitation remain uninvestigated. Therefore, this retrospective case-control study was undertaken to determine the association between CISB and joint range-of-motion after total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA). METHODS: The medical records for patients who underwent TSA at our institution in the previous 3 years were examined. Each patient with a CISB (cases) was matched with a patient without a CISB (controls) for the following variables: age, gender, and TSA type (primary v revision). Data collected included maximum shoulder elevation and external rotation (primary endpoints), along with pre- and postoperative pain scores. RESULTS: Of 134 charts reviewed, 25 cases were matched with an equal number of controls. On postoperative day 1, patients with or without a CISB achieved a median (5th-95th percentiles) of 85% (51-100) and 33% (11-56) of their surgeon-defined goal for elevation (P = .048), respectively, and attained 100% (33-100) and 17% (-81-68) for external rotation (P < .001), respectively. The median numeric rating pain score (NRS) during shoulder movement for patients with CISB was 2.0 (0.0-8.7) versus 8.5 (1.8-10.0) for patients without CISB (P < .001). Least, median, and highest resting NRS for the 24 hours after surgery were 0.0 (0.0-5.8), 1.0 (0.0-6.4), and 3.0 (0.0-9.0) for patients with CISB, respectively, versus 2.0 (0.0-7.7), 6.0 (0.3-9.6), and 8.0 (0.0-10.0) for patients without CISB (P = .030, P < .001, and P < .001 between groups, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The day after TSA, a CISB is associated with increased shoulder range of motion, most likely resulting from the potent analgesia these nerve blocks provide.
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