Transversus Abdominis Plane Block: A Narrative Review


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Abstract

In this narrative review article, the authors discuss the anatomy, nomenclature, history, approaches (posterior vs. lateral vs. subcostal), techniques, pharmacology, indications, and complications of transversus abdominis plane blocks, as well as possible alternative truncal blocks.Despite the scarcity of evidence and contradictory findings, certain clinical suggestions can nonetheless be made. Overall transversus abdominis plane blocks appear most beneficial in the setting of open appendectomy (posterior or lateral approach). Lateral transversus abdominis plane blocks are not suggested for laparoscopic hysterectomy, laparoscopic appendectomy, or open prostatectomy. However, transversus abdominis plane blocks could serve as an analgesic option for Cesarean delivery (posterior or lateral approach) and open colorectal section (subcostal or lateral approach) if there exist contraindications to intrathecal morphine and thoracic epidural analgesia, respectively.Future investigation is required to compare posterior and subcostal transversus abdominis plane blocks in clinical settings. Furthermore, posterior transversus abdominis plane blocks should be investigated for surgical interventions in which their lateral counterparts have proven not to be beneficial (e.g., laparoscopic hysterectomy/appendectomy, open prostatectomy). More importantly, because posterior transversus abdominis plane blocks can purportedly provide sympathetic blockade and visceral analgesia, they should be compared with thoracic epidural analgesia for open colorectal surgery. Finally, transversus abdominis plane blocks should be compared with newer truncal blocks (e.g., erector spinae plane and quadratus lumborum blocks) with well-designed and adequately powered trials.

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