Background: We evaluated the anatomic basis and the clinical results of an ultrasound-guided saphenous nerve block close to the level of the nerve's exit from the inferior foramina of the adductor canal.
Methods: The anatomic study was conducted in 11 knees of formalin-preserved cadavers in which the saphenous nerve was dissected from near its exit from the inferior foramina of the adductor canal. The clinical study was conducted in 23 volunteers. Using a linear probe, the femoral vessels and the sartorius muscle were depicted in short-axis view at the level where the saphenous nerve exits the inferior foramina of the adductor canal. Ten milliliters of 1.5% lidocaine was injected into the compartment structured by the sartorius muscle and the femoral artery.
Results: The saphenous nerve was found to exit the adductor canal from its inferior foramina in 9 (81.8%) of 11 and at a more proximal level in 2 (18.2%) of 11 of the anatomic specimens. In a single specimen (9%), the saphenous nerve was formed by the anastomosis of 2 branches. In all the dissections, the saphenous nerve, after exiting the adductor canal, passed between the sartorius muscle and the femoral artery. Of the 23 volunteers, 22 responded with a complete sensory block, whereas a single volunteer demonstrated no sensory blockade. None of the volunteers experienced a motor block of the hip flexors and knee extensors.
Conclusions: Ultrasound-guided injection directly caudally from the inferior foramina of the adductor canal, between the sartorius muscle and the femoral artery, seems to be an effective approach for saphenous nerve block.
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