The shoulder block: A new alternative to interscalene brachial plexus blockade for the control of postoperative shoulder pain

Department Anaesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, North Shore Hospital, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand.
Anaesthesia and intensive care (Impact Factor: 1.47). 09/2007; 35(4):575-81.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This report describes the development of the shoulder block, an alternative to interscalene brachial plexus blockade for the control of postoperative pain following shoulder surgery. Included is a review of the relevant anatomy of the shoulder joint and its associated structures. Two nerves provide the bulk of the innervation to this area: the suprascapular nerve and the axillary (circumflex) nerve. The shoulder block technique involves selective blockade of both of these nerves instead of general blockade of the entire brachial plexus via the interscalene route. The technique of Meier is used to block the suprascapular nerve in the supraspinous fossa. No descriptions of axillary nerve block were available in the literature, so a technique for blocking this nerve as it travels across the posterior surface of the humerus was developed and is described, along with a discussion of the author's initial clinical experience.

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