The interscalene Brachial Plexus Block is a procedure done on an outpatient basis and is a numbing procedure done prior to or subsequent to surgery on the shoulder and arm. The procedure is done using a local anesthetic.
The procedure starts off with the patient lying down on the back with the shoulder and neck regions fully exposed. The area where the injection is to take place will be cleansed and sterilized using antiseptic solution. Following the sterilization, a local anesthetic is applied to the site of the tissue where the injection is to take place, numbing it. Once the tissue site is numb, the brachial plexus nerves are located with the aid of either an ultrasound or an electrical nerve stimulator. The brachial plexus nerves traverse to the upper arm from the spinal cord. Once these nerves are located, a needle is slowly and carefully guided towards the nerves through the shoulder.
Slowly, a local anesthetic is injected through the needle into the brachial plexus nerves, drenching them with the anesthetic. The anesthetic prevents the feeling of any sensation in both the arm and shoulder. This helps ensure that the patient loses any type of feeling of the shoulder and upper area of the arm while surgery takes place. This procedure also helps to reduce pain that may impacting the shoulder and upper areas of the arm.
Patients can expect the numbing sensation to last for a period of up to several hours subsequent to the injection. This is to help ensure that the patient doesn’t feel any sensation as surgery takes place. Once the surgical procedure has been completed, the patient will be provided with a sling for the arm will be placed in until the nerve block subsides. Patients will be prescribed painkillers to help reduce the pain from the procedure that will take place once the effects of the anesthesia wear off.