Background and Objectives Regional block of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) often has disappointing success rates despite the large volumes of local anesthetic used. This study was undertaken to investigate the utility of using a nerve stimulator (NS) to localize and block the LFCN.
Methods After obtaining institutional approval and informed consent, the authors proceeded with a two-stage study. In stage 1, 20 ASA 1 volunteers underwent LFCN block by both a fan and a NS technique in a prospective, randomized, crossover study utilizing strict criteria for success and extent of block. To predict clinical utility, 20 patients underwent LFCN block by the NS technique using the same assessment criteria (stage 2). Statistical analysis for the comparisons was completed employing the Fisher’s exact or paired t-test as appropriate. P < .05 was considered significant.
Results The NS technique significantly improved the success of LFCN block over the fan technique (100% vs. 40%, P = .00002). The extent of successful blocks was no different with the two techniques. Success in stage 2 was similar to that in stage 1 (85%) predicting clinical utility.
Conclusions A NS can be used to localize a purely sensory nerve; such as the LFCN, and improve success rates in regional anesthesia.
- nerve stimulator
- regional block
- fan technique
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