The investigators are comparing an indwelling catheter with intermediate duration local anesthetic to a single shot peripheral nerve block with long acting a local anesthetic (Exparel).



Eligible Ages
Between 40 Years and 74 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion Criteria

  • American Society of Anesthesia (ASA) 1, 2, and 3
  • Ages 40-74
  • Patients scheduled for total shoulder replacement

Exclusion Criteria

  • ASA 4 and 5
  • Pre-existing pain disorder
  • Regular consumption of chronic pain medication
  • pregnant women
  • any medical condition such as a clotting disorder
  • anatomic abnormality that precludes use of an indwelling scalene catheter
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) >40
  • Patient refusal
  • Pre-existing diabetic neuropathy or Hemoglobin A1c >9
  • Failed block

Study Design

Phase 2
Study Type
Intervention Model
Parallel Assignment
Primary Purpose
Double (Participant, Investigator)

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
an injection of the drug Exparel, a form of the anesthetic bupivacaine
  • Drug: Exparel
    A shot of long acting local anesthetic for post operative pain management
    Other names:
    • liposomal bupivacaine
Active Comparator
Indwelling Catheter
ropivacaine, given through a catheter inserted between the shoulders
  • Device: Indwelling Catheter
    ropivacaine, given through a catheter inserted between the shoulders

Recruiting Locations

Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, New York 10467
Elilary Montilla Medrano, MD

More Details

Montefiore Medical Center

Study Contact

Elilary Montilla Medrano, MD
(718) 920-4316

Detailed Description

While placing an indwelling nerve catheter can prolong pain control, it can also have drawbacks and complications. While major complications like pneumothorax and hemidiaphragmatic paresis from interscalene continuous peripheral nerve blocks (CPNB) are rare, minor adverse effects associated with CPNBs may be more common. They include infection and anatomical damage to blood vessels and nerves due to the indwelling catheter. In addition, catheters take a significantly longer time to set up and place than single shot blocks, which is important as there is often a rush to block patients and trying to get them into the operating room on time. Furthermore, the needle used for catheter placement is larger than the single shot needles, which creates more discomfort to patients during the nerve block. The catheter itself is taped around the entire sides and back of the patient's neck, which is also uncomfortable for patients. Because of how shallow the interscalene block is, the catheter is often found to be dislodged from operating room positioning, patient transport or movement, which negates the placement of the catheter. An indwelling catheter must also be followed up by the acute pain service team until the catheter is removed.

Exparel, or liposomal bupivacaine, is formulated to release low dose bupivacaine over 96 hours, and was recently approved by the FDA in April 2018 to be used in interscalene blocks. The sustained release of local anesthetic could theoretically act similarly to the continuous infusion of local anesthetic through an indwelling interscalene catheter, and could thus avoid the need for placement of a catheter. Current existing data, although inconclusive, has in some studies shown an equal analgesic effect as catheters. As per pharmacy, the cost of the On-Q pump and the local anesthesia needed for the pump together cost $390 for each indwelling catheter placed, not including the cost of anesthesia and pharmacy supplies and labor. The cost of each 20 mL vial of Exparel is less at $285 and, for a single shot nerve block, would avoid the extra costs and time needed for a catheter placement.

The investigators would like to perform a prospective randomized controlled pilot study to examine the efficacy of single shot interscalene blocks using Exparel versus the traditional interscalene catheter used at our institution. The purpose of the study the investigators are proposing is to determine if single shot interscalene nerve blocks using Exparel can provide equivalent or better analgesia than indwelling interscalene catheter in patients who undergo total shoulder replacement surgery. If so, single shot interscalene nerve blocks with Exparel may serve as a quicker, easier, cheaper, safer, and more comfortable alternative to placing indwelling interscalene catheters.


Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.