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Double-Injection Method Using Peripheral Nerve Stimulator Is Superior to Single Injection in Axillary Plexus Block
  1. Per Inberg, M.D.*,
  2. Ilkka Annila, M.D., Ph.D. and
  3. Päivi Annila, M.D., Ph.D.*,
  1. *From the Department of Anesthesiology, Tampere University Hospital
  2. the Medical School, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.
  1. Reprint requests; Päivi Annila, M.D., Ph.D., Medical School, University of Tampere, P.O. Box 607, 33101 Tampere, Finland.


Background and Objectives. Axillary block using a single-injection method does not always provide effective analgesia. This study examined whether a double axillary block injection technique is superior to a single injection axillary block.

Methods. Fifty patients were randomly allocated to two groups. In group 1 (single injection), the whole volume of local anesthetic (0.7 mL/kg) was injected after locating only one of the median, radial, or ulnar nerves. In group 2 (double injection), half of the volume was injected after locating one nerve and the other half after locating another peripheral nerve. Bupivacaine 0.5% and prilocaine 1% (1:1 volumes) were used as local anesthestic. A peripheral nerve stimulator was used to identify the nerves. Sensory block of seven nerves and motor block of four nerves were tested after 40 minutes.

Results. Complete sensory and motor block (scores 2 or 3 on scale 0-3) in all four main nerves (median, ulnar, radial, musculocutaneous) was achieved in 3 (12%) versus 20 (80%) patients in groups 1 and 2, respectively (P = .000001). Primary success rate (no need for supplemental nerve block) was 52% in group 1 and 92% in group 2 (P = .0016).

Conclusions. A double-injection method in axillary block provides excellent analgesia and motor block compared with a single-injection method. Moreover, the need for supplemental nerve blocks is significantly decreased.

  • anesthetic techniques
  • axillary block.

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