Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Addition of Fentanyl to 1.5% Lidocaine Does Not Increase the Success of Axillary Plexus Block
  1. D. Fletcher, M.D.,
  2. G. Kuhlman, M.D. and
  3. K. Samii, M.D.
  1. From the Département d’Anesthésie-Réanimation, Hôpital de Bicêtre, Université Paris-Sud, Kremlin Bicêtre, France
  1. Reprint requests: D. Fletcher, Département d’Anesthésie-Réanimation, Hôpital de Bicêtre, 78 Rue du Général Leclerc, 94275 Le Kremlin Bicêtre Cedex, France.


Background and Objectives. This randomized, double-blind study was designed to evaluate the effects of the addition of fentanyl (F) to lidocaine (L) on the onset, duration, and success rate of axillary brachial plexus block.

Methods. After institutional approval and informed consent, 53 ASA 1 and ASA 2 patients scheduled for orthopedic surgery using brachial plexus anesthesia were included in the study. Axillary brachial plexus block was performed using a peripheral nerve stimulator to localize one nerve of the major plexus. The patients were randomly allocated to two groups. The L + F group (n = 27) were administered 38 mL of 1.5% L with 1/200,000 epinephrine and 100 μg of F, and the L + S group (n = 26) were administered 38 mL of 1.5% L with 1:200,000 epinephrine and 2 mL of normal saline. The onset (monitored every 5 minutes) and duration (monitored every 30 minutes) of surgical anesthesia, defined as the total abolition of the pinprick response, were evaluated in each nerve territory.

Results. The patients were similar with regard to demographic data and the nerve trunks stimulated. In the L + F group, the onset time was only reduced (P = .012) for the musculocutaneous nerve. The duration of surgical anesthesia and the motor block were similar in both groups. The frequency of complete plexus block and the frequency of anesthesia for each nerve trunk were similar in both groups.

Conclusion. There is no clinical benefit resulting from the addition of fentanyl to the local anesthetic for axillary brachial plexus block.

  • anesthesia techniques
  • local
  • nerve block
  • brachial plexus
  • opioids
  • fentanyl

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Presented in part at the Societe Françhise d’Anesthesie de Reanimation 1992 meeting, Paris.

    Partially funded by the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris.