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A practical guide to commonly performed ultrasound-guided peripheral-nerve blocks

Fingerman, Mitchella; Benonis, James Gb; Martin, Gavinc

Current Opinion in Anesthesiology: October 2009 - Volume 22 - Issue 5 - p 600–607
doi: 10.1097/ACO.0b013e32832f7643
Pain medicine: Edited by Raymond Sinatra

Purpose of review Regional anesthesia has experienced a tremendous renaissance of interest over the past several years. Much of this renewed enthusiasm among clinicians is due to the increased usage of ultrasound guidance for peripheral-nerve blocks. This review serves as a useful foundation for the most commonly employed ultrasound-guided blocks utilized by the clinician.

Recent findings With recent advances in both sonographic capability and access for anesthesia providers, many peripheral-nerve blocks have become quite amenable to being placed with ultrasound guidance. In addition, the subspecialty of ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia is being further pioneered via both anatomical and pharmacological studies.

Summary With ultrasound guidance, the regional anesthesiologist has yet another tool to enhance both the accuracy and success of peripheral-nerve blockade. This article serves to display the most clinically relevant nerve blocks utilized in the perioperative setting. It is meant to be used as a clinical starting point for the development of regional anesthesia skills.

aDepartment of Anesthesiology, Duke University Health System, Durham, USA

bPresbyterian Anesthesia Associates, Presbyterian Orthopedic Hospital, Charlotte, USA

cDivision of Orthopedic, Plastic and Regional Anesthesia, Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University Health System, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Correspondence to Mitchell Fingerman, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Ambulatory Anesthesia, DUMC 3094, Sort #4, Durham, NC 27710, USA E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.