Distal Peripheral Nerve Blocks in the Forearm as an Alternative to Proximal Brachial Plexus Blockade in Patients Undergoing Hand Surgery: A Prospective and Randomized Pilot Study Article

Full Text via DOI: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2016.07.092 PMID: 27524691 Web of Science: 000385340300004

Cited authors

  • Soberon, Jose R., Jr.; Crookshank, Joseph W., III; Nossaman, Bobby D.; Elliott, Clint E.; Sisco-Wise, Leslie E.; Duncan, Scott F.


  • Purpose Limited data exist regarding the role of perineural blockade of the distal median, ulnar, and radial nerves as a primary anesthetic in patients undergoing hand surgery. We conducted a prospective and randomized pilot study to compare these techniques to brachial plexus blocks as a primary anesthetic in this patient population.; Methods Sixty patients scheduled for hand surgery were randomized to receive either an ultrasound guided supraclavicular, infraclavicular, or axillary nerve block (brachial plexus blocks) or ultrasound guided median, ulnar, and radial nerve blocks performed at the level of the mid to proximal forearm (forearm blocks). The ability to undergo surgery without analgesic or local anesthetic supplementation was the primary outcome. Block procedure times, postanesthesia care unit length of stay, instances of nausea/vomiting, and need for narcotic administration were also assessed.; Results The 2 groups were similar in terms of the need for conversion to general anesthesia or analgesic or local anesthetic supplementation, with only 1 patient in the forearm block group and 2 in the brachial plexus block group requiring local anesthetic supplementation or conversion to general anesthesia. Similar durations in surgical and tourniquet times were also observed. Both groups reported similarly low numerical rating scale pain scores as well as the need for postoperative analgesic administration (2 patients in the forearm block group and 1 in the brachial plexus block group reported numerical rating scale pain scores > 0 and required opioid administration in the post anesthesia care unit). Block procedure characteristics were similar between the 2 groups.; Conclusions Forearm blocks may be used as a primary anesthetic in patients undergoing hand surgery. Further research is warranted to determine the appropriateness of these techniques in patients undergoing surgery in the thumb or proximal to the hand. Copyright (C) 2016 by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. All rights reserved.

Publication date

  • 2016

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0363-5023

Start page

  • 969

End page

  • 977


  • 41


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