The Benefits of Using Regional Anesthesia via Nerve Blocks for Patients Prior to Surgery


Jayly Cook

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Publication Date

Spring 2021


Regional anesthesia via peripheral nerve blocks has been used for decades; however, the process has been improved by ultrasound guided technology since the 1990s. This has enhanced the precision and safety of injections creating a more effective administration method. Peripheral nerve blocks are used in joint replacement surgeries and joint/muscle injury surgeries to help reduce postoperative pain and need for opioids for pain management. The studies examined patients who received peripheral nerve blocks and patients who received general or spinal anesthesia and compared several factors postoperatively. The main focus was to compare postoperative pain and use of a patient-controlled anesthesia pump to administer opioid analgesics. The patients who received peripheral nerve blocks for lower extremity joint replacements experienced less postoperative pain and less need for opioids which resulted in higher patient satisfaction. Despite the research supporting the benefits of peripheral nerve blocks compared to general or spinal anesthesia, it was found that these blocks are underused in facilities today. Further research found that the underuse of these peripheral nerve blocks today is from a lack of education and understanding by both anesthesia staff and patient populations. To continue producing higher patient satisfaction, education on the administration and benefits of peripheral nerve blocks needs to be provided to anesthesia departments, so it can be passed onto patients who in turn can choose this type of anesthesia for their lower extremity joint replacement surgeries.


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