Ultrasound-Guided Continuous Oblique Subcostal Transversus Abdominis Plane Blockade: Description of Anatomy and Clinical Technique

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Recently, ultrasound-guided transversus abdominis plane blockade for abdominal wall analgesia has been described, and it involves injection of local anesthetic into the transversus abdominis plane. The posterior approach involves injection of local anesthetic in the lateral abdominal wall between the costal margin and the iliac crest and is suitable for postoperative analgesia after surgery below the umbilicus. The subcostal approach is suitable after abdominal surgery in the periumbilical region. The subcostal block can be modified, and the needle can be introduced along the oblique subcostal line from the xyphoid process toward the anterior part of the iliac crest.


The purpose of this brief technical report was to describe in detail the anatomy and the technique of continuous oblique subcostal blockade. The goal of this approach was to produce a wider sensory blockade suitable for analgesia after surgery both superior and inferior to the umbilicus.


A catheter can be placed along the oblique subcostal line in the transversus abdominis plane for continuous infusion of local anesthetic. Multimodal analgesia and intravenous opioid are used in addition because visceral pain is not blocked. Continuous oblique subcostal transversus abdominis plane block is a new technique and requires both a detailed knowledge of sonographic anatomy and technical skill for it to be successful.

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