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Ultrasound guidance in regional anesthesia: state of the art review through challenging clinical scenarios

Authors Sites B, Antonakakis JG

Published 5 January 2009 Volume 2009:2 Pages 1—14


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 6

Brian D Sites1, John G Antonakakis2

1Departments of Anesthesiology and Orthopedic Surgery, Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA; 2Department of Anesthesiology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Abstract: Ultrasound guided regional anesthesia (UGRA) for peripheral nerve blockade is becoming increasingly popular. The advantage of ultrasound technology is that it affords the anesthesiologist the real time ability to visualize neural structures, needle advancement, and local anesthetic spread. Recent data suggest that UGRA generates improved success rates and reductions in performance times in comparison to traditional approaches. Further, the use of ultrasound technology in peripheral nerve blocks has provided insight into needle–nerve interactions, revealing distinct limitations of nerve stimulator techniques. Given that UGRA requires a unique set of skills, formal standards and guidelines are currently being developed by leadership societies in order to foster education and training. This review article, in a case vignette format, highlights important techniques, concepts, and limitations regarding the use of ultrasound to facilitate regional anesthesia. Clinically relevant aspects of ultrasound physics are also discussed.

Keywords: ultrasound, regional anesthesia

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