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Stace Anaesthetists

Nerve Block

Nerve Block involves the injection of a local anaesthetic into the nerves that supply the body area being operated on.

Nerve blocks can be used as a sole form of anaesthetic or combined with sedation or a general anaesthetic to provide excellent pain relief. The operative area should be more comfortable for several hours after your surgery (in some cases for up to 18-24 hours).  An Ultrasound machine or nerve stimulator is often employed to guide the needle as close as possible to the nerve reducing the risk of nerve trauma.

In some specific cases, a catheter can be inserted through the needle and left in place in the tissue surrounding the nerve so that local anaesthetic solution can be infused over several days.

  • Prolonged pain relief after surgery.
  • Shorter recovery time after surgery.
  • Lower requirements for strong pain relieving medications such as Morphine.
  • Less Morphine related side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
Side Effects/ Risks of Nerve Block
  • Bruising – If you take blood thinning agents like aspirin, warfarin, clopidogrel  (Plavix and Iscover) you are more  likely to get a haematoma.  These drugs should be discontinued prior to surgery.  Your anaesthetist will discuss the issues with you at the pre-operative visit.
  • Failure of Block.
Uncommon Risks
  • Nerve trauma. Uncommon, but if it happens it is usually temporary and will get better over a period of weeks to months.
  • Overdose of local anaesthetic resulting in seizures.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Death.