Signs of Inflammation After Sciatic Nerve Block in Pigs

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Nerve stimulators are widely used to assist with peripheral nerve blocks but do not eliminate the risk of nerve injury. We evaluated the histologic findings 6 h after sciatic nerve block with bupivacaine in pigs. When a motor response was still obtained with a current <0.2 mA (n = 10), the postmortem microscopic evaluation revealed lymphocytes and granulocytes sub-, peri-, and intraneurally in 5 (50%) of 10 pigs. No signs of inflammation were observed when the muscle contraction was achieved with a current between 0.3 and 0.5 mA (P = 0.03). In conclusion, the current required to elicit a motor response, the position of the needle tip, and the subsequent likelihood of nerve damage merit further evaluation.

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