The Benefits of Local Anesthesia Used in Mastectomy Without Reconstruction

Aida K. Sarcon, Wenxia Zhang, Amy C. Degnim, Rebecca L. Johnson, William S. Harmsen, Amy E. Glasgow, James W. Jakub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The opioid epidemic has driven renewed interest in local anesthesia to reduce postoperative opioid use. Our objective was to determine if local anesthesia decreased hospital pain scores, oral morphine equivalents (OME), length of stay (LOS), and nausea/vomiting. Methods: Single institution retrospective study of females who underwent mastectomy without reconstruction. Results: Overall, 712 patients were included; 63 (8.8%) received bupivacaine (B), 512 (72%) liposomal bupivacaine (LB), and 137 (19%) no local. 95% were discharged on POD1. Liposomal bupivacaine use increased from 2014 to 2019. Additional factors associated with use of local regimen were surgeon and extent of axillary surgery. Fewer patients used postop opioids during their hospital stay if any local was used compared to none (76 vs 88%; 0.003). Compared to none, local had shorter mean PACU LOS (95 vs 87 min; P =.02), lower mean intraoperative-OME (96 vs 106; P <.001), and lower mean postoperative OME/hr (1.4 vs 1.8 P =.001). Multivariable analysis (MVA) showed lower OME/hr with LB compared to B and none (P =.002); this translates to 22 mg and 30 mg of oxycodone in a 24-hr period, respectively. MVA showed lower POD1 pain scores with LB relative to none (P =.049). Local did not impact nausea/emesis. Conclusion: Local anesthesia was superior to no local in several measures. However, a consistent benefit of a specific local anesthetic agent was not demonstrated (LB vs B). A prospective study is warranted to determine the optimal local regimen for this cohort and further inform clinical relevance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Surgeon
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • bupivacaine
  • liposomal bupivacaine
  • local anesthetic
  • mastectomy
  • no reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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