Kara Berger

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


Zvart Onanian School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



A fundamental component of healthcare delivery is providing comfort, including the minimization of pain with as few side effects as possible. Unmanaged postoperative pain continues to be a challenge in healthcare and is a frequently discussed and studied topic. Pain that is not controlled is associated with several negative sequelae involving multiple organ systems and an overall increase in morbidity. Using a multimodal approach to pain management has been emerging as a way of combatting not only unmanaged postoperative pain, but also the use of opioids. Peripheral nerve block administration is effective pain management technique anesthesia professionals are trained to administer. A newer peripheral nerve block, the erector spinae plane block has been shown to be an effective way of lowering postoperative pain scores and opioid consumption in a variety of surgeries. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a systematic review to determine if the administration of the erector spinae plane block (ESPB) will affect postoperative pain and opioid consumption after abdominal surgery when compared to the administration of the long-established transversus abdominus plane (TAP) block. This systematic review was created using both the preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analyses (PRISMA) framework and Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP). A literature review was performed, and data was extracted and reported on each study. A cross study analysis was performed using data collection created the author of this review. The ESPB was found to be effective in reducing pain and opioid consumption when compared to receiving no block. The evidence comparing the ESPB to the TAP block suggest the ESPB may have superior pain lowering and opioid sparing abilities than the TAP block but would suggest more studies to confirm.