Current Issue - July/August 2020 - Vol 23 Issue 4


  1. 2020;23;405-412Transversus Abdominis Plane Block as a Treatment Modality for Chronic Abdominal Pain
    Retrospective Review
    Alaa Abd-Elsayed, MD, Susan Luo, BS, and Cody Falls, BS.

BACKGROUND: This study describes the use of transversus abdominis plane (TAP) blocks to treat and manage chronic abdominal pain (CAP) in patients who have exhausted other treatment options. Typically, this is a procedure prescribed for treating acute abdominal pain following abdominal surgery. Here we evaluate the use of TAP blocks for longer relief from CAP.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy of TAP blocks for pain control in patients with CAP.

STUDY DESIGN: This was a retrospective chart review and analysis of TAP blocks performed over 5 years. This project qualified for institutional review board exemption.

SETTING: This study was completed at an academic institution.

METHODS: We reviewed the charts of 92 patients who received TAP blocks for CAP after previous treatment was ineffective. Some patients underwent multiple TAP blocks, with a total of 163 individual procedures identified. For most blocks, a solution of 0.25% bupivacaine and triamcinolone was injected into the TAP. Efficacy of the injection was measured using pain scores, percent improvement, and duration of relief from pain.

RESULTS: TAP blocks were associated with a statistically significant (P <= 0.05) improvement in abdominal pain scores in 81.9% of procedures. Improvement was 50.3% ± 39.0% with an average duration of 108 days after procedures with ongoing pain relief at time of follow-up were removed. There was a significant reduction in emergency department visits for abdominal pain before and after the procedure (P <= 0.05).

LIMITATIONS: This was a retrospective chart review with lack of a control group.

CONCLUSIONS: TAP blocks can be extrapolated for treating abdominal pain beyond acute settings. TAP injections can be considered as a treatment option for patients with somatosensory CAP refractory to other forms of pain management.

KEY WORDS: Abdominal pain, transversus abdominis plane block, chronic pain, chronic abdominal pain, pain management, somatosensory pain, transversus abdominis plane, steroid injection