Analgesic efficacy of erector spinae plane block in lumbar spine surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Clin Anesth. 2022 Jun:78:110647. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinane.2022.110647. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


Study objective: Erector spinae plane block (ESPB) has gained popularity for perioperative analgesia in various surgeries. However, its efficacy in lumbar surgery remains unclear. This review aimed to determine whether ESPB could improve analgesic efficacy in lumbar spine surgery.

Design: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Setting: Perioperative setting.

Patients: Patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery under general anesthesia.

Interventions: We searched the databases including PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Web of Science etc. for published eligible controlled trials comparing ESPB with control (no block/sham block) in lumbar spine surgery.

Measurements: The primary outcome was opioid consumption in the first 24 h after surgery.

Main results: Twelve studies comprising 665 participants were included. Compared to the control, ESPB reduced the opioid (morphine milligram equivalents) consumption significantly 24 h after surgery [mean difference (MD) = -14.55; 95% confidence interval (CI), -21.03 to -8.07; P < 0.0001] and lowered the pain scores at various time points (at rest or during movement) for 48 h after surgery. ESPB increased the patient satisfaction score (0-10) (MD = 2.38; 95% CI, 2.10 to 2.66; P < 0.0001), decreased the postoperative nausea and vomiting [risk ratio (RR) = 0.36; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.67; P = 0.001], and minimized the length of hospital stay (MD = -1.24 days; 95% CI, -2.31 to -0.18; P = 0.02). Furthermore, subgroup analysis revealed additional reduction in opioid consumption by the block approach at the vertebral level of incision/operation than that at the fixed thoracic/lumbar level. However, considerable heterogeneity and low-grade quality of evidence were observed.

Conclusions: ESPB provided effective postoperative analgesia resulting in better patient satisfaction and recovery with decreased postoperative nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing lumbar surgery compared to the control. However, the low-grade quality of evidence compromised the findings, therefore further high-quality of evidence is required. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021233362.

Keywords: Erector spinae plane block; Lumbar vertebrae; Nerve block; Neurosurgical procedures; Opioid analgesics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Humans
  • Nerve Block* / methods
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Paraspinal Muscles
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / etiology
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / prevention & control


  • Analgesics, Opioid