Scalp nerve blocks decrease the severity of pain after craniotomy

Anh Nguyen, François Girard, Daniel Boudreault, François Fugère, Monique Ruel, Robert Moumdjian, Alain Bouthilier, Jean Luc Caron, Michel W. Bojanowski, Dominic C. Girard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Up to 80% of patients report moderate to severe pain after craniotomy. In this study, we assessed the efficacy of scalp block for decreasing postoperative pain in brain surgery. Thirty patients scheduled for supratentorial craniotomy were enrolled. They were randomly divided into two groups: Ropivacaine (scalp block with 20 mL of ropivacaine 0.75%) and Saline (scalp block with 20 mL of saline 0.9%). Anesthesia was standardized. The scalp block was performed after skin closure and before awakening. Postoperative pain was assessed at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 48 h by using a 10-cm visual analog scale. Analgesia was provided with subcutaneous codeine as requested by the patient. Average visual analog scale scores were higher in the Saline group as compared with Ropivacaine (3.7 ± 2.4 vs 2.0 ± 1.6; P = 0.036). The total dose of codeine did not differ, nor did the duration of time before the first dose of codeine was required in the Ropivacaine (571 ± 765 min) versus Saline (319 ± 409 min; P = 0.17) group. In conclusion, we found that postoperative scalp block decreases the severity of pain after craniotomy and that this effect is long lasting, possibly through a preemptive mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1272-1276
Number of pages5
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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