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Cadaveric study investigating the femoral nerve-sparing volume for pericapsular nerve group (PENG) block


Background This cadaveric study investigated the maximum effective volume of dye in 90% of cases (MEV90) required to stain the iliac bone between the anterior inferior iliac spine (AIIS) and the iliopubic eminence (IPE) while sparing the femoral nerve during the performance of pericapsular nerve group (PENG) block.

Methods In cadaveric hemipelvis specimens, the ultrasound transducer was placed in a transverse orientation, medial and caudal to the anterior superior iliac spine in order to identify the AIIS, the IPE and the psoas tendon. Using an in-plane technique and a lateral-to-medial direction, the block needle was advanced until its tip contacted the iliac bone. The dye (0.1% methylene blue) was injected between the periosteum and psoas tendon. Successful femoral-sparing PENG block was defined as the non-staining of the femoral nerve on dissection. Volume assignment was carried out using a biased coin design, whereby the volume of dye administered to each cadaveric specimen depended on the response of the previous one. In case of failure (ie, stained femoral nerve), the next one received a lower volume (defined as the previous volume with a decrement of 2 mL). If the previous cadaveric specimen had a successful block (ie, non-stained femoral nerve), the next one was randomized to a higher volume (defined as the previous volume with an increment of 2 mL), with a probability of b=1/9, or the same volume, with a probability of 1–b=8/9.

Results A total of 32 cadavers (54 cadaveric hemipelvis specimens) were included in the study. Using isotonic regression and bootstrap CI, the MEV90 for femoral-sparing PENG block was estimated to be 13.2 mL (95% CI: 12.0 to 20.0). The probability of a successful response was estimated to be 0.93 (95% CI: 0.81 to 1.00).

Conclusion For PENG block, the MEV90 of methylene blue required to spare the femoral nerve in a cadaveric model is 13.2 mL. Further studies are required to correlate this finding with the MEV90 of local anesthetic in live subjects.

  • lower extremity
  • nerve block
  • pain management

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information.

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