Skip to main content

Peripheral Nerve Blocks : Benefits and Procedure : This is a type of regional anesthesia that is injected near a specific nerve or bundle of nerves to block pain movement from a specific area of the body.

Peripheral Nerve Blocks

Peripheral Nerve Blocks

A peripheral nerve block is used in many surgical procedures. Peripheral nerve block is an alternative to general anesthesia and central nerve blocks.

Patients often require less pain medication during recovery from a peripheral nerve block. Peripheral nerve block only affects the specific area of the body being operated on. 

When is peripheral nerve block used?

Peripheral nerve blocks are used in many surgical procedures. They are commonly used just before surgical procedures on the arms and hands, the legs and feet, or the face.

Peripheral nerve blocks may be most useful when the procedure:

  • Can be limited to a specific area of the body that can be anesthetized with a nerve block.
  • Involves large areas of the body where injecting a large volume of local anesthetic might cause side effects that could affect the whole body.
  • Involves an area of the body where injecting a local anesthetic would cause distortions that might cause problems with the surgery.
  • Can be completed in a relatively short time.

What Happens during Peripheral Nerve Blocks?

What Happens during Peripheral Nerve Blocks?

What Happens during Peripheral Nerve Blocks?

Peripheral nerve block is usually done before your surgery to help with pain during and after your surgery.

You will first receive an IV line in your hand or arm to reduce intravenous pain medicine. The IV line allows your body to relax as it prepares for the injection. A numbing agent will also be injected into the area to reduce pain and make you comfortable.

With the aid of X-ray guidance, your doctor will insert a spinal epidural needle into the area where the anesthesia will be delivered. To ensure that the needle is in the right position, your doctor may use the needle to touch the nerve that needs to be blocked. When the tip of the needle touches the nerve, you may feel a sharp sensation like an electric shock. Inform your doctor if you feel such a sensation.

When the needle is in the right position, your doctor will inject the anesthetic to block the nerve. You will be carefully monitored during the procedure to prevent any complications.

After the procedure

After receiving a peripheral nerve block, you will need to avoid operating heavy machinery and strenuous activities for at least 24 hours.

You are not allowed to drive for at least 24 hours. You need to arrange for a cab or someone that will drive you back home.

You can resume normal activities after a few days of the procedure.

Different types of peripheral nerve blocks

There are two different types of peripheral nerve blocks superficial and deep. 

Superficial

The superficial nerve block is an injection into a nerve branch of a peripheral nerve. It is used to treat peripheral nerve problems such as neuropathy and radiculopathy. 

Deep

The deep nerve block is an injection into a nerve root. It is used to treat specific peripheral nerve problems such as mononeuropathy and polyneuropathy.

Complications of peripheral nerve blocks

Peripheral nerve blocks are administered to the extremities. The most frequent complications include nerve injury, ulnar nerve dysfunction, and mechanical difficulties, including hypotension and peripheral nerve injury. The majority of complications are related to using the peripheral nerve blocks rather than the peripheral nerve itself.

Benefits of peripheral nerve block

Benefits of peripheral nerve block

Benefits of peripheral nerve block

Benefits of undergoing peripheral nerve block include:

  • It reduces your need for oral narcotic pain medicines which could cause serious side effects.
  • It reduces nausea and vomiting after surgery.
  • It shortens how long you will need to stay in the post-anesthesia care unit after your surgery.
  • It provides better immediate pain relief after surgery.
  • It reduces the amount of general anesthesia you will need during your surgery.

Possible Side Effects

You will be carefully watched during the procedure to prevent complications. This is because the anesthetics used may affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system. It may also affect your blood pressure, breathing, heartbeat, and other vital functions.

Side effects that may occur include:

Possible Side Effects

Possible Side Effects

  • A tingling sensation in some portion of the area affected by the nerve block
  • Itchiness or redness at the site of injection
  • Slight nausea
  • Soreness at the injection site
  • Muscle spasms

Consult your doctor if you experience

  • A prolonged headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of feeling in your limbs or groin

Will I be awake during a peripheral nerve block?

You may be awake, or sleepy. You won’t feel pain throughout the surgery. Your doctor will determine whether to administer local anesthesia or general anesthesia.

Where do you inject peripheral nerve blocks?

You can inject peripheral nerve blocks, like sensory or motor blocks, into the anterior or posterior tibial nerve. However, peripheral nerve blocks can also be administered in other uncommon places, such as the brachial plexus, the axillary nerve, or the medial femoral cutaneous nerve.

How long does it take for a peripheral nerve block to wear off?

The length of time a peripheral nerve block takes to wear off depends on how long the doctor sticks the needle into your arm. A longer hand gives more time to deplete the nerve. 

The time it takes to wear off support many factors, including if you are sleeping if you have a fever, and if you are nervous. Living with a peripheral nerve block may cause side effects, such as numbness and tingling.

Featured image  source