An overview of opioid usage and regional anesthesia for patients undergoing repair of anorectal malformation

Pediatr Surg Int. 2021 Apr;37(4):457-460. doi: 10.1007/s00383-020-04841-7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.


Purpose: The recent opioid crisis in the USA compelled us to evaluate our practice of opioid use for postoperative pain management and the influence of regional anesthesia on opioid requirement in patients undergoing repair of anorectal malformations.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed evaluating patients who underwent posterior sagittal anorectoplasty (PSARP) and posterior sagittal anorecto-vagino-urethroplasty (PSARVUP), with or without laparotomy, between January 2016 and March 2020. Morphine milligram equivalents per kilogram (MME/kg) were calculated. IRB approval was obtained for this study.

Results: A total of 105 surgical patients had either a PSARP (74 without laparotomy, 10 with laparotomy) or PSARVUP (13 without laparotomy, 8 with laparotomy). Regional anesthesia included epidurals, transversus abdominis plane block, caudal block or paravertebral catheters. Of the PSARP patients, 4 without laparotomy and 7 with laparotomy received regional anesthesia. For PSARVUP with laparotomy, 4/8 received regional. 44% of PSARP patients without laparotomy did not require opioids postoperatively. The MME/kg required exponentially increased for patients over the age of 5 who underwent PSARP.

Conclusions: Regional anesthesia is a useful modality for pain control for PSARP/PSARVUP with laparotomy, decreasing the opioid usage, but it is unnecessary for the already low opioid requirements, in patients younger than 5 years of age, without laparotomy.

Keywords: Anorectal malformation; Opioid; Pain; Posterior sagittal anorectoplasty; Regional anesthesia.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Anesthesia, Conduction / methods*
  • Anorectal Malformations / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laparotomy
  • Male
  • Nerve Block
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urethra / surgery
  • Vagina / surgery


  • Analgesics, Opioid