The corrugator supercilii, not the orbicularis oculi, reflects rocuronium neuromuscular blockade at the laryngeal adductor muscles

Anesthesiology. 2001 Jul;95(1):96-101. doi: 10.1097/00000542-200107000-00019.


Background: Some studies suggest that the orbicularis oculi is resistant to neuromuscular blocking drugs and behaves like laryngeal muscles. Others report little or no difference between the orbicularis oculi and the adductor pollicis. These discrepancies could be related to the exact site of recording. The purpose of this study was to compare two monitoring sites around the eye with the adductor pollicis and the laryngeal adductor muscles.

Methods: After institutional approval and informed consent, the evoked response to train-of-four stimulation was measured in 12 patients by acceleromyography at the thumb (adductor pollicis), the eyelid (orbicularis oculi), and the superciliary arch (corrugator supercilii) after 0.5 mg/kg rocuronium during propofol-fentanyl-nitrous oxide anesthesia. In 12 other patients, laryngeal adductor neuromuscular blockade was assessed via the cuff of the tracheal tube and compared with the adductor pollicis and the corrugator supercilii after 0.6 mg/kg rocuronium.

Results: After 0.5 mg/kg, maximum blockade (%T1, mean +/- SD) was less at the corrugator supercilii (80+/-20%) than at the adductor pollicis (100+/-1%) and the orbicularis oculi (93+/-8%) (P < 0.01). Clinical duration (25%T1) was shorter at the corrugator supercilii (12+/-7 min) than at the adductor pollicis (25+/-4 min) and orbicularis oculi (24+/-10 min) (P < 0.01). After 0.6 mg/kg, maximum blockade was similar at the corrugator supercilii (88+/-8%) and the laryngeal adductor muscles (89+/-11%). Clinical duration at the corrugator supercilii and the laryngeal adductors was 17+/-7 and 17+/-10 min, respectively.

Conclusions: Muscles around the eye vary in their response to rocuronium. The response of the superciliary arch (corrugator supercilii) reflects blockade of laryngeal adductor muscles. However, the eyelid (orbicularis oculi) and thumb (adductor pollicis) have similar sensitivities.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Androstanols*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Eyelids / innervation
  • Facial Nerve / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Masks
  • Laryngeal Muscles / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuromuscular Blockade*
  • Neuromuscular Nondepolarizing Agents*
  • Orbit
  • Rocuronium


  • Androstanols
  • Neuromuscular Nondepolarizing Agents
  • Rocuronium