A continuous interscalene brachial plexus block (CIBPB) is usually administered before surgery in awake patients. However, the use of CIBPB before surgery could hinder the identification of nerve injuries after total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA). This study aimed to compare the analgesic effects of preoperatively and postoperatively initiated CIBPBs in patients undergoing TSA. The medical records of patients who underwent TSA between January 2016 and August 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. The following analgesic phases were used: intravenous (IV) patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) phase (IV PCA group, = 40), preoperative block phase (PreBlock group, = 44), and postoperative block phase (PostBlock group, = 33). The postoperative initiation of CIBPB after a neurologic exam provided better analgesia than IV PCA and had no differences with the preoperative initiation of CIBPB, except for the worst pain at the postanesthetic care unit. Opioid consumption was significantly greater in the IV PCA group, but there were no differences between the PreBlock and PostBlock groups on operation day after the transfer to the general ward. The initiation of CIBPB after a patient's emergence from general anesthesia had comparable analgesic efficacy with preoperative CIBPB but offered the chance of a postoperative neurologic exam.