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Continuous peripheral nerve blockade in lower extremity surgery

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Peripheral nerve blocks afford numerous benefits for lower extremity surgery. There is growing interest in continuous peripheral nerve blocks, mainly for treatment of postoperative pain, a field that represents a challenge to the anaesthesiologist. This paper seeks to review the efficacy of continuous lower limb blocks for postoperative pain relief. Not only do continuous peripheral nerve blocks afford specificity of analgesic area but current research has shown that they enhance postoperative analgesia and patient satisfaction. New techniques and devices are increasingly appearing, and catheters are constantly being developed and improved; an example being the stimulating catheter, which represents one of the newest advances in this area.

The above techniques show that continuous postoperative analgesia with catheters in the lower extremities is not only possible, but indeed provides sustained effective postoperative analgesia, reduces use of opioids, and improves rehabilitation and patient well-being with minimal side-effects. These techniques could prove an alternative to postoperative pain treatment following ambulatory surgery.

Keywords: Continuous nerve blockade; lower extremity surgery; postoperative analgesia; stimulating catheters

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Anaesthesiology, Valme Hospital, Seville, Spain

Publication date: September 1, 2005


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