A new technique for regional anesthesia for arthroscopic shoulder surgery based on a suprascapular nerve block and an axillary nerve block: An evaluation of the first results

Hand Surgery and Microsurgery Unit, University-Hospital Careggi, Florence, Italy.
Arthroscopy The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery (Impact Factor: 3.19). 07/2008; 24(6):689-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.arthro.2008.01.019
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We propose a new technique of regional anesthesia that combines suprascapular nerve block (SSNB) and axillary nerve block (ANB) in arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
Twenty consecutive patients undergoing arthroscopic procedures for shoulder cuff diseases were included in the trial. SSNB was performed by introducing the stimulating needle approximately 2 cm medial to the medial border of the acromion and about 2 cm cranial to the superior margin of the scapular spine until supraspinatus or infraspinatus muscle contractions were elicited. Following negative aspiration, 15 mL of a mixture of 2% lidocaine (5 mL) and 0.5% levobupivacaine (10 mL) was injected. ANB was performed; a line was drawn between the lateral-posterior angle of the acromion and the olecranon tip of the elbow. The location was about 2 cm cranial to the convergence of this line with the perpendicular line from the axillary fold. The needle was introduced approximately 2 cm cranial to this crossing point to elicit deltoid muscle contractions, and another 15 mL of the same anesthetic mixture was injected. Five mL of the same mixture was injected into each portal of the arthroscopic area. During surgery, patients were sedated with the use of midazolam. General anesthesia was not performed. Acceptance of the technique was assessed through a postsurgical survey of those treated.
No serious complications occurred. None of the patients required opiates, analgesics, or general anesthesia during the surgical procedure. Postoperative pain control, which was assessed using a visual analog scale, was effective during the observation time. The total demand for nonopiate analgesics during the first 24 postoperative hours was negligible. Patient satisfaction and comfort were satisfactory.
Combining SSNB and ANB is an effective and safe technique for intraoperative anesthesia and postoperative analgesia for certain procedures of shoulder arthroscopic surgery.

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