- Risks and Complications
What is an infraclavicular nerve block?
An infraclavicular nerve block is a procedure to numb the brachial plexus nerves, which transmit sensation of the arms. An anesthetic injection is administered below the collarbone (clavicle), adjacent to the brachial plexus, to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that emerge from the neck (cervical) region of the spine and transmit sensory and motor functions of the shoulders, upper arms and hands. Three main techniques are used to block the brachial plexus:
- Infraclavicular nerve block: administered below the clavicle to numb the hand, forearm, elbow, and most of the upper arm.
- Supraclavicular nerve block: administered above the clavicle to numb the arm below the shoulder.
- Interscalene nerve block: administered in the neck to numb the shoulder and upper arm.
How do you block the intercostobrachial nerve?
The intercostobrachial nerve transmits sensation from the inner side of the upper arm. The anesthetic injection is administered in the arm, just below the armpit, to block the intercostobrachial nerve.
The infraclavicular nerve block anesthetizes the outer side of the upper arm. The brachial plexus nerve blocks may not adequately anesthetize the intercostobrachial nerve, so this nerve block is usually performed as a supplementary measure.
Why is an infraclavicular nerve block performed?
An infraclavicular block may be performed to provide anesthesia or pain relief (analgesia). An infraclavicular nerve block may also be administered in combination with general anesthesia.
An infraclavicular block is performed:
- Prior to surgical procedures in the
- For post-surgical pain relief in the arm
- For pain from a tourniquet applied on the arm
- For making a surgical connection between an artery and a vein (arteriovenous fistula) for hemodialysis
The infraclavicular approach is useful for placing a thin flexible tube (catheter) when continuous analgesia is required for longer periods, because the infraclavicular area has very little movement and poses minimal risk of catheter displacement.
An infraclavicular block is avoided in the following conditions:
How is an infraclavicular nerve block performed?
An infraclavicular nerve block may be performed as an outpatient procedure or in the hospital, depending on the surgical procedure involved.
The doctor may use one or a combination of the following anesthetic agents:
- Mepivacaine for blocks lasting up to three hours
- Mepivacaine and epinephrine for blocks lasting four hours
- Mepivacaine, tetracaine and epinephrine for blocks of up to six hours
- Bupivacaine or ropivacaine for blocks lasting 12 hours
- The patient is in a semi-sitting position.
- Mild sedation is administered.
- The patient’s blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels are monitored.
- The injection site is sterilized.
- May administer the injection
- at the midpoint below the clavicle, or
- closer to the arm end of the clavicle.
- Uses ultrasound guidance for accurate positioning of the needle.
- May confirm the correct location of the nerve by stimulating the nerve and producing a finger twitch.
- Inserts the needle deep through the pectoral muscles.
- Aspirates the needle to be certain the needle is not in a blood vessel.
- Slowly injects the anesthetic around the axillary artery and the brachial plexus nerve cords.
- Inserts a catheter through the needle insertion site, if analgesia is required for extended periods.
- Withdraws the needle and waits for 10 minutes for the nerve block to take effect.
- Recovery depends on the surgical procedure performed.
What are the risks and complications of an infraclavicular nerve block?
Potential complications of an infraclavicular nerve block include:
Latest Chronic Pain News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is an Infraclavicular Nerve Block Related Articles
Broken BoneA broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as:
- vertebral compression,
- compound, and
Symptoms of a broken bone include pain at the site of injury, swelling, and bruising around the area of injury. Treatment of a fracture depends on the type and location of the injury.
Broken BonesBroken bones are a common type of injury. Bones are some of the hardest tissues in the body, but they can break when they are stressed. Osteoporosis and cancer may cause bone fractures. The broken bone needs immediate medical treatment.
Broken FingerThe most common causes of broken fingers are a traumatic injury to the finger or fingers such as playing sports, injury in the workplace, falls, and accidents. Treatment for a broken finger may be as simple as buddy taping the broken finger to the adjacent finger, or if the fracture is more serious, surgery. Fingers are the most commonly injured part of the hand.
Broken Toe PictureA commonly injured area of the body is the foot, more specifically, the toes (phalanxes). This often causes one or more of the toe bones to break (fracture).
Burns (First Aid)
Burn types are based on their severity: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are similar to a painful sunburn. The damage is more severe with second-degree burns, leading to blistering and more intense pain. The skin turns white and loses sensation with third-degree burns. Burn treatment depends upon the burn location, total burn area, and intensity of the burn.
Bell's Palsy (Facial Nerve Problems) Paralysis Causes and TreatmentsBell's palsy is one type of facial nerve paralysis. The 7th cranial nerve controls the muscles of the face, and although scientists do not know the exact cause of Bell's palsy, they think it may be due to nerve damage from an infection, for example, the flu, common cold viruses, and more serious infections like meningitis. The symptoms of Bell's palsy vary from person to person, but can include mild weakness to total paralysis, dry eye, dry mouth, eyelid drooping, drooling, mouth drooping, dry mouth, changes in taste, and excessive tearing in one eye.
People with Bell's palsy usually don't need medical treatment, however, drugs like steroids, for example, prednisone seem to be effective in reducing swelling and inflammation are used when medical is necessary. Most people with Bell's palsy begin to recover within two weeks after the initial onset of symptoms. Full recovery may take three to six months.
When to Call 911It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a minor bump on the head and a serious head injury. Here are some situations that need medical help right away.
First Aid: Wound Care for Cuts and ScrapesWound care treatment at home involves performing cuts and scrapes first aid including cleaning the injury and applying antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Use wound care products like adhesive bandages, hypoallergenic bandages, sprays, tape, and gauze. If cuts and scrapes don’t heal, see your doctor.
First Aid EssentialsAre you always prepared for a first aid crisis? See which basic first aid items to pack to treat minor scrapes, cuts, and stings when you're on the go.
How Long Does A Digital Nerve Block Last?A digital nerve block is a procedure to anesthetize the fingers or toes (digits) by injecting an anesthetic solution at the base of the digit. The injection is widely used for local anesthesia, especially in the emergency department, where people often come in with digital injuries.
How Long Does a Supraclavicular Nerve Block Last?A supraclavicular nerve block is a procedure to block the sensation in the arm below the shoulder. An anesthetic injection is administered in the area above the collarbone (clavicle) close to the network of nerves (brachial plexus) that provides sensation to the upper extremities. A supraclavicular nerve block is the quickest and most effective block for the entire arm because the nerves are tightly packed in the targeted anatomical region (brachial plexus).
How Long Does an Epidural Nerve Block Last?An epidural nerve block is a procedure to block pain by injecting anesthetic medication into the epidural space of the spine. The procedure numbs the relevant nerve region thereby blocking the transmission of pain signals from those nerves to the brain. An epidural nerve block may be administered in the cervical, thoracic, lumbar or the caudal (lowermost) region of the spinal column.
Nerve BlocksNerve blocks are used for different pain treatment and management purposes. There are many different types of nerve blocks for specific areas of the body. A plexus or ganglion is a group of nerves that causes pain to a specific area of the body. The pain area is injected with a nerve-numbing substance called a nerve block.
Neuropathic PainNeuropathic pain is a chronic condition that leads to ongoing pain symptoms. Patients can be predisposed to developing neuropathic pain who have conditions such as:
- vitamin deficiencies,
- shingles, and
- multiple sclerosis.
Trauma/First Aid QuizWhat should be in your first-aid kit? Take this quiz to understand trauma and learn the truth about how to administer first aid.
What Is an Epidural Nerve Block?An epidural nerve block is a procedure to block pain by injecting anesthetic medication into the epidural space. The epidural space is the area between the inner wall of the backbone (vertebral column) and the outermost of the three membranes (dura mater) that surround the spinal cord.