Nerve Blocks in the Geriatric Patient With Hip Fracture: A Review of the Current Literature and Relevant Neuroanatomy

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Abstract

Introduction:

Hip fracture is a common occurrence in the elderly population with high morbidity and mortality due to postoperative pain and opioid use. The goal of this article is to review the current literature on the neuroanatomy of the hip and the use of localized nerve block in controlling hip fracture pain.

Methods:

A thorough search of MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was conducted using the search terms “hip fracture” and “fascia iliaca block (FICB).” An additional search was conducted utilizing multiple search terms including “hip fracture,” “greater trochanter,” “femur,” “hip,” “anatomy,” “neuroanatomical,” and “anatomic.” Each search result was investigated for cadaveric studies on the innervation of the trochanteric region.

Results:

Twenty-five clinical studies examining the use of FICBs in hip fracture patients were identified. These studies show that FICB is safe and effective in controlling perioperative pain. Additionally, FICB has been shown to decrease opioid requirement and opioid-related side effects. Neuroanatomical studies show that the hip capsule is innervated by contributions from the femoral, obturator, sciatic, and superior gluteal nerves. Imaging studies suggest that FICB anesthetizes these branches through localized spread along the fascia iliaca plane. Cadaveric evidence suggests that the greater trochanter region is directly innervated by a single branch from the femoral nerve.

Discussion:

The proven efficacy of nerve blocks and their anatomic basis is encouraging to both the anesthesiologist and orthopedic surgeon. Their routine use in the hip fracture setting may improve patient outcomes, given the unacceptably high morbidity and mortality associated with opioid use.

Conclusions:

Localized nerve blocks, specifically FICB, have been shown to be safe and effective in managing acute hip fracture pain in geriatric patients, leading to decreased opioid use. Knowledge of the hip neuroanatomy may help guide future development of hip fracture pain blockade.

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