- 2016;19;E481-E486Serratus Plane Block for Persistent Pain after Partial Mastectomy and Axillary Node Dissection
Kayo Takimoto, MD, Kaoru Nishijima, MD, and Mayu Ono, MD.
Persistent pain after breast cancer surgery (PPBCS) is defined as chronic neuropathic pain that persists for more than 3 months after surgery. The pain can be sufficiently severe to cause long-term disabilities and interfere with sleep and daily life. Serratus plane block (SPB) is a novel, ultrasound-guided regional anesthetic technique that is suggested to achieve complete anesthesia of the anterolateral chest wall. Here, we demonstrate the efficacy of SPB as one of the treatment modalities for patients with PPBCS. A 73-year-old woman underwent a left partial mastectomy and axillary node dissection for breast cancer. Four months after surgery, she experienced burning pain with nocturnal exacerbation rated 10/10 on a numerical rating scale (NRS), hot flashes, numbness, and hyperesthesia of the left axilla. Pharmacological therapy did not improve her symptoms, and 15 months after the surgery, she experienced depression. We treated her with SPB with 10 mL of 1% lidocaine; this treatment was repeated 10 times over 6 months at 2- to 4-week intervals and she was simultaneously treated with pharmacological, physical, and cognitive behavioral therapy. With her improved pain control, she was able to perform physical therapy and subsequently experienced marked improvement in her functional status and ability to perform daily activities. She has not required any interventional pain management since the last SPB performed 11 months ago. SPB represents one of the treatment modalities for PPBCS and is an advantageous technique because it can be performed more safely and easily than neuraxial approaches.