Perioperative blocks for decreasing postoperative narcotics in breast reconstruction

Ariel Clare Johnson, Salih Colakoglu, Angela Reddy, Clara Marie Kerwin, Roland A. Flores, Matthew L. Iorio, David W. Mathes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Context: High rates of mortality and chemical dependence occur following the overuse of narcotic medications, and the prescription of these medications has become a central discussion in health care. Efforts to curtail opioid prescribing include Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) guidelines, which describe local anesthesia techniques to decrease or eliminate the need for opioids when used in a comprehensive protocol. Here, we review effective perioperative blocks for the decreased use of opioid medications post-breast reconstruction surgery. Evidence Acquisition: A comprehensive review was conducted using keywords narcotics, opioid, surgery, breast reconstruction, pain pump, nerve block, regional anesthesia, and analgesia. Papers that described a local anesthetic option for breast reconstruction for decreasing postoperative narcotic consumption, written in English, were included. Results: A total of 52 papers were included in this review. Local anesthetic options included single-shot nerve blocks, nerve block catheters, and local and regional anesthesia. Most papers reported equal or even superior pain control with decreased nausea and vomiting, length of hospital stay, and other outcomes. Conclusions: Though opioid medications are currently the gold standard medication for pain management following surgery, strategies to decrease the dose or number of opioids prescribed may lead to better patient outcomes. The use of a local anesthetic technique has been shown to reduce narcotic use and improve patients’ pain scores after breast reconstruction surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere105686
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAnesthesiology and Pain Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Blocks
  • Breast Reconstruction
  • Non-narcotic
  • Opioid
  • Regional Anesthesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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