ISSN 2398-2950      

Anesthesia: brachial plexus block

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Synonym(s): Forelimb block


Introduction

  • The brachial plexus block involves injection of local anesthetic agents Local anesthesia: overview into the group of nerves that are responsible for sensory and motor function of the forelimb. This block is relatively simple to perform and is associated with minimal risks or complications when performed correctly.
  • The brachial plexus is formed by the ventral branches of the cervical spinal (C6, C7, C8) and the first thoracic (T1) nerves:
    • The major nerves are the: pectorales craneales, suprascapsular, subscapular, axillaris, musculocutaneous, radial, ulnar and median.

Uses

Advantages

  • Easy to perform safely in anesthetized animals; inexpensive; low incidence of complications; provides good relaxation of limb.
  • May reduce incidence or severity of post-operative pain.
  • Anesthetic sparing effect.

Disadvantages

  • Onset of complete block may take up to 15-30 minutes.
  • Occasional failure of block, especially in obese animals.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Mosing M, Reich H & Moens Y (2010) Clinical evaluation of the anaesthetic sparing effect of brachial plexus block in cats. Vet Anaesth Analg 37 (2), 154-161 PubMed.
  • Wenger S, Moens Y, Jäggin N et al (2005) Evaluation of the analgesic effect of lidocaine and bupivacaine used to provide a brachial plexus block for forelimb surgery in 10 dogs. Vet Rec 156 (20), 639-642 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Campoy L (2006) Fundamentals of Regional Anesthesia Using Nerve Stimulation in the Dog. In: Recent Advances in Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia: Companion Animals. Gleed R D & Ludders J W (eds). International Veterinary Information Service. Ithaca NY (www.ivis.org).
  • Tranquilli W J, Grimm K A & Lamont L A (2000) Pain Management for the Small Animal Practitioner. Teton New Media, pp 40-42.
  • Skarda R T (1996) Local and regional anesthetic and analgesic techniques: dogs. In: Lumb and Jones'Veterinary Anesthesia, JC Thurmon, W J Tranquilli, & G J Benson, eds; 3rd Edn, Williams and Wilkins, p 432.

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