A randomized study of the effectiveness of suprascapular nerve block in patient satisfaction and outcome after arthroscopic subacromial decompression

Arthroscopy. 2011 Oct;27(10):1323-8. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2011.05.016. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of the suprascapular nerve (SSN) block in pain reduction after arthroscopic subacromial decompression operations and its influence on patient satisfaction. Furthermore, we wanted to evaluate whether better perioperative pain management could positively influence postoperative shoulder function.

Methods: In this prospective, randomized, double-blinded clinical trial, 3 groups of patients--each with 15 participants--were treated with SSN block (10 mL of 1% ropivacaine), placebo, or a subacromial infiltration of local anesthesia (20 mL of 1% ropivacaine). Preoperative and postoperative pain was evaluated with a visual analog scale. Functional outcome was measured by the Constant-Murley score, and patient satisfaction was measured anecdotally by interview 2 days, 2 weeks, and 6 weeks after surgery.

Results: The SSN group reported significantly lower levels of postoperative pain, required significantly less analgesia, had better range of motion, and had higher levels of postoperative satisfaction in comparison to the subacromial infiltration group and placebo group.

Conclusions: Patients treated with SSN blocks had less pain overall, which led to a decreased need for analgesics in comparison to the subacromial infiltration and placebo groups. Furthermore, patients in the SSN-blocked group achieved better postoperative ROM and were significantly more satisfied after surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amides
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Anesthesia, Local
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Ropivacaine
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome / surgery*
  • Shoulder Pain / drug therapy
  • Shoulder Pain / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Amides
  • Analgesics
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Ropivacaine