Regional anesthesia in trauma medicine

Anesthesiol Res Pract. 2011;2011:713281. doi: 10.1155/2011/713281. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Abstract

Regional anesthesia is an established method to provide analgesia for patients in the operating room and during the postoperative phase. While regional anesthesia offers unique advantages, as shown by the recent military experience, it is not commonly utilized in the prehospital or emergency department setting. Most often, regional anesthesia techniques for traumatized patients are first utilized in the operating room for procedural anesthesia or for postoperative pain control. While infiltration or single nerve block procedures are often used by surgeons or emergency medicine physicians in the preoperative phase, more advanced techniques such as plexus block procedures or regional catheter placements are more commonly performed by anesthesiologists for surgery or postoperative pain control. These regional techniques offer advantages over intravenous anesthesia, not just in the perioperative phase but also in the acute phase of traumatized patients and during the initial transport of injured patients. Anesthesiologists have extensive experience with regional techniques and are able to introduce regional anesthesia into settings outside the operating room and in the early treatment phases of trauma patients.