The Impact of the Fascia Iliaca Block Beyond Perioperative Pain Control in Hip Fractures: A Retrospective Review

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Background: Geriatric hip fractures are common injuries that are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Adequate pain control remains a challenge as the altered physiology in elderly patients makes use of traditional analgesics challenging. The use of regional anesthetics, specifically the fascia iliaca compartment block (FICB), in the perioperative period has been shown to decrease opioid use in this population. This study aimed to investigate the effect the FICB had on pain control, length of stay, readmissions, and complications in a 30-day postoperative period. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study comparing patients who sustained hip fractures; one cohort (110 patients) received a preoperative fascia iliaca block with continuous infusion (FICB), whereas the other cohort (110 patients) did not receive a block (NO-FICB). Both cohorts were from level II trauma centers. Data were collected between 2016 and 2019. Descriptive statistics was performed to describe and summarize the data. Bivariate analysis was performed using chi-square test, with 2 tailed P-values ≤.05 were considered statistically significant. Results: The FICB group had a lower length of stay (3.9 days vs 4.8 days; P <.001), and lower pain scores on post-operative days 2 and 3 (P =.019). There was no difference in time from admission to surgery (P =.112) or narcotic use between cohorts (P =.304). However, the FICB group was more likely to discharge to a skilled nursing facility (P=.002), and more likely to be readmitted within 30 days (P =.047). There were no differences in medical complications or mortality between the 2 groups. Conclusions: The primary study endpoint, length of stay, was found to be significantly shorter in the patients who underwent the FICB vs the group who did not undergo the FICB. Pain scores on POD2 and POD3 were lower in patients who received a FICB. This study adds to the body of evidence that the FICB is an effective addition to a multimodal pain pathway. Level of Evidence: Level III Evidence – Retrospective Cohort Study.