The extent of blockade when four different techniques were used for blocking the lumbar plexus was prospectively evaluated in 80 adult patients. The extent of blockade was measured by testing motor function of all nerves except the lateral and posterior femoral cutaneous nerves, which were evaluated by pinprick response. The posterior approaches of Dekrey at L3 (n = 20) and Chayen at L4-5 (n = 20) proved similarly effective in producing blockade of the femoral, obturator, and lateral femoral cutaneous nerves, as well as the nerves to the psoas muscle. The anterior approach of Winnie (femoral sheath or 3-in-1 block) using paresthesia (n = 20) or peripheral nerve stimulation (n = 20) proved effective in producing blockade of the femoral and lateral femoral cutaneous nerves, but ineffective for obturator nerve blockade. None of the four techniques produced blockade of the sacral plexus. Perhaps our means of assessing blockade (motor) is what produced the difference between our findings and those of others.