A new single injection procedure, the fascia iliaca compartment block, is described for blocking the femoral, lateral cutaneous, and obturator nerves. The technique consists of injecting a local anesthetic immediately behind the fascia iliaca at the union of the lateral with the two medial thirds of the inguinal ligament, and forcing it upward by finger compression. This block was prospectively evaluated in 60 pediatric patients aged 0.7 to 17 years undergoing surgery of the lower limb, and then compared with a similar group of 60 children given a 3-in-1 block. Adequate analgesia was only obtained in 20% of the patients given 3-in-1 blocks (group 1), whereas the fascia iliaca compartment block proved to be easy, free of complications, and effective in more than 90% of patients (group 2). Such a high failure rate in group 1 was not due to misplacement of the needle since a femoral nerve block developed in all patients. Therefore it is unlikely that the local anesthetic can spread rostrally towards the lumbar plexus then return peripherally along the issuing nerves, and this was, indeed, not confirmed by radiological findings. In the authors' opinion, a multieffective block can only develop when the local anesthetic is introduced behind the fascia iliaca, which circumscribes a potential space where the femoral, lateral cutaneous, and obturator nerves run for a considerable part of their course. This report shows that deliberately injecting this space almost always results in an easy and effective block of these three nerves. The fascia iliaca compartment block can be recommended for use in children.
Address correspondence to Dr. Dalens, Pavillon Gosselin, Hôtel-Dieu 8. P. 69, 63003 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
© 1989 International Anesthesia Research Society