Femoral Nerve Blocks Can Delay Return to Sports after ACL Reconstruction

    Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction is becoming more common in children and adolescents under age 18, pushing sports medicine surgeons to investigate the effects of this procedure in a very young patient population.

    Researchers from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, recently explored the role of femoral nerve blocks – commonly used as postoperative analgesia following ACL reconstruction – in return to sports within 6 months after the procedure, the time frame in which they would expect these patients to be cleared for sports activities.

    They found that only about two third of patients who had a femoral nerve block were ready to return to sports at 6 months, compared with 90% of patients who did not have a femoral nerve block. The mean time for return to sports was 208.9 days for the femoral nerve block group and 190.9 days for the group without a femoral nerve block (P=0.025).

    The study authors cited significant isokinetic deficits in knee extension (quadriceps) and flexion (hamstring) strength in patients who received a femoral nerve block as the reason for the delay in clearance for return to sports.

    What does this mean for clinical practice? We asked lead author T. David Luo, MD, to discuss the findings, which were presented at the annual meeting of the Mid-America Orthopaedic Association.

    Click the image above to hear his comments.

    Producer and director: Michael Bugera; Post Production: Charles Maynard


    Luo TD, Ashraf A, Dahm DL, McIntosh AL. Femoral Nerve Block Use in Adolescent Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Leads to Slower Return to Play (Paper 076). Presented at the Mid-America Orthopaedic Association Annual Meeting, April 22-25, 2015, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.