The brachial plexus block is a procedure that requires the assistance of an ultrasound and involves the use of either anesthesia or a mixture consisting of anesthetic and steroid medication. The medication is injected into the brachial plexus, which is a matrix of nerve fibers that traverse to the arms from the spine. This procedure is performed for several reasons. It can help create a blockage of the pain that comes about following a surgical procedure done on the arm, shoulder or hand. The procedure is also done to aid in controlling pain and other chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Prior to the commencement of the procedure, the patient will be positioned on his back. An ultrasound probe will be utilized to help ascertain the most accurate entry point where the needle can be inserted in. Once the tissue located at the point of entry (at the base of the neck, around the collarbone region) has been identified, the local anesthetic is applied to help numb the area.
A needle is then inserted into the tissue that has been numbed and is carefully guided down to the brachial plexus. Once the needle reaches the plexus, the medication is then injected. The brachial plexus nerve fibers are drenched in the medication, which helps to either reduce the inflammation and chronic pain or block all sensation temporarily.