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Peripheral Nerve Block (Lower Limb)

This page will provide you with information about a peripheral nerve block to your leg (lower limb).  For further details, you should speak to your consultant.

What is a peripheral nerve block?

A peripheral nerve block to your lower limb numbs the major nerves in your leg to provide you with temporary pain relief. The medication is a mix of anaesthetic and painkillers.

A nerve block is a form a regional anaesthetic that can be administered on its own while the patient is awake, with sedation, or with a general anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic. It is most common for leg surgery to be carried out under general anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic. A peripheral nerve block is often offered to patients in addition to general anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic.

Depending on the type of surgery you have, the injection can be made into a number of areas, including: behind the knee, behind the thigh, in the foot, in the ankle, or near the groin (see figure 1). 

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How is the nerve block administered?

Doctors often use an ultrasound scanner together with a nerve simulator in order to find the right place to administer the injection. Once the needle has been injected into the chosen area, the doctor will make sure it is in the correct position before delivering the anaesthetic.

In some cases, before the needle is removed a small tube is inserted through it. This enables the anaesthetist to deliver additional anaesthetic if needed.

Risks and complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.

Summary

A peripheral nerve block is a form of pain relief available to most patients during or following their surgery. In the majority of cases the nerve block is successful.

 

References: EIDO Healthcare Limited - The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

 

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