The anesthetic management of supratentorial craniotomy (CR) necessitates tight intraoperative hemodynamic control. This type of surgery may also be associated with substantial postoperative pain. We aimed at evaluating the influence of regional scalp block (SB) on hemodynamic stability during the noxious events of supratentorial craniotomies and total intravenous anesthesia, its influence on intraoperative anesthetic agents’ consumption, and its effect on postoperative pain control.
Sixty patients scheduled for elective CR were prospectively enrolled. Patient, anesthesiologist, and neurosurgeon were blind to the random performance of SB with either levobupivacaine 0.33% (intervention group [group SB], n = 30) or the same volume of saline (control group [group CO], placebo group, n = 30). General anesthesia was induced and maintained using target-controlled infusions of remifentanil and propofol that were adjusted according to hemodynamic parameters and state entropy of the electroencephalogram (SE), respectively. Mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), SE, and propofol and remifentanil effect-site concentrations (Ce) were recorded at the time of scalp block performance (Baseline), and 0, 1, 3, and 5 minutes after skull-pin fixation (SP), skin incision (SI), CR, and dura-mater incision (DM). Morphine consumption and postoperative pain intensity (0–10 visual analog scale [VAS]) were recorded 1, 3, 6, 24, and 48 hours after surgery. Propofol and remifentanil overall infusion rates were also recorded. Data were analyzed using 2-tailed Student unpaired t tests, 2-way mixed-design analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Tukey’s honestly significant difference (HSD) tests for post hoc comparisons as appropriate.
Demographics and length of anesthetic procedure of group CO and SB were comparable. SP, SI, and CR were associated with a significantly higher MAP in group CO than in group SB, at least at one of the time points of recording surrounding those noxious events. This was not the case at DM. Similarly, HR was significantly higher in group CO than in group SB during SP and SI, at least at 1 of the points of recording, but not during CR and DM. Propofol and remifentanil Ce and overall infusion rates were significantly higher in group CO than in group SB, except for propofol Ce during SP. Postoperative pain VAS and cumulative morphine consumption were significantly higher in group CO than in group SB.
In supratentorial craniotomies, SB improves hemodynamic control during noxious events and provides adequate and prolonged postoperative pain control as compared to placebo.
- Question: Is scalp block effective at improving hemodynamic stability and postoperative pain control in patients receiving total intravenous anesthesia for supratentorial craniotomies?
- Findings: As compared to placebo, scalp block strongly attenuates hemodynamic responses to skull pin insertion, skin incision, and craniotomy, lowers intraoperative opioid and hypnotic agent requirements, and provides good quality postoperative pain control with low opioid consumption in patients undergoing intravenous anesthesia for supratentorial craniotomies.
- Meaning: Scalp block can be considered as a useful add-on to total intravenous anesthesia for the perioperative anesthetic management of those patients.