BACKGROUND: Ultrasound gel nerve inflammation has been reported. We evaluated the extent and nature of inflammation after gel injection with endotoxin (positive), saline, or dry needle puncture (negative) controls after peripheral blocks in piglets.
METHODS: Selected nerves of 12 piglets were localized by landmarks and nerve stimulator. Forty-eight hours after injection, specimens were examined for immunohistochemical cell differentiation/quantification and cytokine expression by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: Both gel and endotoxin injections resulted in a significantly higher density of inflammatory cells (lymphocytes/granulocytes) as compared with needle insertions and/or saline injections (both P < 0.001). Cytokines were not detected in any of the specimens.
CONCLUSIONS: Perineural gel injections cause significant inflammation. The lack of cytokines suggests injectate-related changes rather than mechanical trauma.