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Papers of the Week

2020 Jun 26




Transmuscular quadratus lumborum (TQL) block for laparoscopic colorectal surgery: study protocol for a double-blind, prospective randomized placebo-controlled trial.


Thoracic epidural anesthesia is no longer considered the gold standard for perioperative analgesia in laparoscopic colorectal procedures. In the search for alternatives, the efficacy of the transverse abdominal plane (TAP) block and other abdominal wall blocks such as the transmuscular quadratus lumborum (TQL) block continues to be investigated for postoperative pain management. Most of the initial studies on TAP blocks reported positive effects; however, the amount of studies with negative outcomes is increasing, most probably due to the fact that the majority of abdominal wall blocks fail to mitigate visceral pain. The TQL block could prove attractive in the search for better postoperative pain relief after laparoscopic colorectal surgery. In several cadaveric studies of the TQL, a spread of dye into the thoracic paravertebral space, the intercostal spaces, and even the thoracic sympathetic trunk was reported. Given the advantage of possibly reaching the thoracic paravertebral space, the potential to reach nerves transmitting visceral pain, and the possible coverage of dermatomes T4-L1, we hypothesize that the TQL provides superior postoperative analgesia for laparoscopic colorectal surgery as compared to patient-controlled intravenous analgesia with morphine alone.