Perioperative Breast Analgesia: A Qualitative Review of Anatomy and Regional Techniques

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Abstract

Breast surgery is exceedingly common and may result in significant acute as well as chronic pain. Numerous options exist for the control of perioperative breast pain, including several newly described regional anesthesia techniques, but anesthesiologists have an insufficient understanding of the anatomy of the breast, the anatomic structures disrupted by the various breast surgeries, and the theoretical and experimental evidence supporting the use of the various analgesic options. In this article, we review the anatomy of the breast, common breast surgeries and their potential anatomic sources of pain, and analgesic techniques for managing perioperative pain. We performed a systematic review of the evidence for these analgesic techniques, including intercostal block, epidural administration, paravertebral block, brachial plexus block, and novel peripheral nerve blocks.

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