Background: Both transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block and local anesthetic wound infiltration have been used to relieve pain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. We undertook this systematic review and meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis to determine the best analgesic technique.
Methods: We systematically searched the literature for trials comparing TAP block with wound infiltration after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The primary outcome was pain score during rest (analogue scale, 0–10) at 2 postoperative hours. Secondary pain-related outcomes included pain scores during rest at 12 and 24 h, pain scores during movement and intravenous morphine consumption at 2, 12 and 24 h, and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Other secondary outcomes sought were block-related complications such as rates of postoperative infection, hematoma, visceral injury and local anesthetic systemic toxicity.
Results: Ten trials including 668 patients were identified. There was a significant difference in pain score during rest at 2 postoperative hours in favour of TAP block when compared with wound infiltration (mean difference [95%CI]: −0.7 [−1.2, −0.2]; I2 = 71%; p = 0.008). Pain scores during rest at 12 and 24 h and pain scores during movement at 24 h were also significantly lower with TAP block than wound infiltration. Postoperative morphine consumption and the incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting were significantly lower in patients who received a TAP block. Data were insufficient to compare block-related complications. The overall quality of evidence was moderate-to-high.