Peripheral nerve blocks (PNB) are safe and effective techniques used for providing both surgical anesthesia and postoperative analgesia. In certain clinical situations, peripheral nerve blocks offer distinct benefits over general and neuraxial anesthesia . By providing opioid sparing analgesia, PNBs may facilitate ambulatory and non-ambulatory discharge, improve satisfaction, and generate specific cost savings.
This topic will provide an overview of peripheral nerve blocks. Specific techniques are discussed separately. (See "Peripheral nerve block: Techniques".)
There are no specific guidelines for peripheral nerve blocks. Peripheral nerve blocks can be particularly useful for patients in whom neuraxial anesthesia or general anesthesia are contraindicated. For example, a peripheral block is advantageous in patients at high risk for respiratory depression (eg, sleep apnea, morbid obesity, advanced age) and the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ (ASA) statement regarding obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) suggests regional anesthesia as an alternative to general anesthesia . Peripheral nerve blocks can also be performed to avoid some of the known side effects and complications of general and neuraxial anesthesia.
Advantages — Advantages of peripheral nerve blocks include:
●No airway manipulation and therefore no airway complications