Infraclavicular brachial plexus block is a technique well suited to prolonged continuous catheter use.We used a coracoid approach to this block to create an easily understood technique. We reviewed the magnetic resonance images of the brachial plexus from 20 male and 20 female patients. Using scout films, the parasagittal section 2 cm medial to the coracoid process was identified. Along this oblique section, we located a point approximately 2 cm caudad to the coracoid process on the skin of the anterior chest wall. From this point, we determined simulated needle direction to contact the neurovascular bundle and measured depth. At the skin entry site, the direct posterior insertion of a needle will make contact with the cords of the brachial plexus where they surround the second part of the axillary artery in all images. The mean (range) distance (depth along the needle shaft) from the skin to the anterior wall of the axillary artery was 4.24 +/- 1.49 cm (2.25-7.75 cm) in men and 4.01 +/- 1.29 cm (2.25-6.5 cm) in women. Hopefully, this study will facilitate the use of this block. Implications: We sought a consistent, palpable landmark for facilitation of the infraclavicular brachial plexus block. We used magnetic resonance images of the brachial plexus to determine the depth and needle orientation needed to contact the brachial plexus. Hopefully, this study will facilitate the use of this block.
(Anesth Analg 1998;87:870-3)
Departments of (Wilson, Brown, Wong) Anesthesiology, (Ehman) Radiology, and (Cahill) Anatomy, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Accepted for publication July 15, 1998.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to J. L. Wilson, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St. SW, Rochester, MN 55906.