Cervical Plexus Block

All previously documented regional anesthesia procedures for carotid artery surgery routinely require additional local infiltration or systemic supplementation with opioids to achieve satisfactory analgesia because of the complex innervation of the surgical site. Here, we report a reliable ultrasound-guided anesthesia method for carotid artery surgery. High-resolution ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia using a 12.5-MHz linear ultrasound transducer was performed in 34 patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy. Anesthesia consisted of perivascular regional anesthesia of the internal carotid artery and intermediate cervical plexus block. The internal carotid artery and the nerves of the superficial cervical plexus were identified, and a needle was placed dorsal to the internal carotid artery and directed cranially to the carotid bifurcation under ultrasound visualization. After careful aspiration, local anesthetic was spread around the internal carotid artery and the carotid bifurcation. In the second step, local anesthetic was injected below the sternocleidomastoid muscle along the previously identified nerves of the intermediate cervical plexus. The necessity for intra-operative supplementation and the conversion rate to general anesthesia were recorded. Ultrasonic visualization of the region of interest was possible in all cases. Needle direction was successful in all cases. Three to five milliliters of 0.5% ropivacaine produced satisfactory spread around the carotid bifurcation. For intermediate cervical plexus block, 10 to 20 mL of 0.5% ropivacaine produced sufficient intra-operative analgesia. Conversion to general anesthesia because of an incomplete block was not necessary. Five cases required additional local infiltration with 1% prilocaine (2-6 mL) by the surgeon. Visualization with high-resolution ultrasound yields safe and accurate performance of the block. Because of the low rate of intra-operative supplementation, we conclude that the described ultrasound-guided perivascular anesthesia technique is effective for carotid artery surgery.


Combination of high-resolution ultrasound-guided perivascular regional anesthesia of the internal carotid artery and intermediate cervical plexus block for carotid surgery.

Rössel T, Kersting S, Heller AR, Koch T.

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2013 Jun;39(6):981-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2013.01.002. Epub 2013 Mar 15.


In this study we evaluated the analgesic efficacy of bilateral superficial cervical plexus block after thyroid surgery. Sixty patients were assigned to two groups. General anesthesia was induced with 2mg/kg propofol, 0.1mg/kg vecuronium and 1.5μg fentanyl IV for both group. After endotracheal intubation, bilateral superficial cervical plexus block with 0.25% bupivacaine 15ml in each side was performed in Group I. In Group II (control) no regional block was administered. Intravenous on demand analgesic was used to evaluate postoperative analgesic requirement. Neither visual analog scale scores nor intravenous analgesics doses were different between the groups. The first analgesic requirement time in Group I was significantly longer than for the control group. The incidence of nausea and vomiting was significantly lower in Group I than Group II. We concluded that bilateralsuperficial cervical plexus block with 0.25% bupivacaine did not decrease analgesic requirement after thyroid surgery.


The analgesic requirement after thyroid surgery under general anaesthesia with bilateral superficial cervical plexus block.

Sardar K, Rahman SH, Khandoker MR, Amin ZA, Pathan FH, Rahman MK.

Mymensingh Med J. 2013 Jan;22(1):49-52.


The ultrasound-guided superficial cervical plexus (SCP) block may be useful for providers in emergency care settings who care for patients with injuries to the ear, neck, and clavicular region, including clavicle fractures and acromioclavicular dislocations. The SCP originates from the anterior rami of the C1-C4 spinal nerves and gives rise to 4 terminal branches--greater auricular, lesser occipital, transverse cervical, and suprascapular nerves--that provide sensory innervation to the skin and superficial structures of the anterolateral neck and sections of the ear and shoulder. Here we describe an ultrasound-guided technique for blockade of the SCP that is potentially well suited to emergency care settings. We present the first case description of its successful use to manage pain for a patient with an acute clavicle fracture. This case is presented to highlight one of several potential applications of this promising new technique in the emergency department.


The ultrasound-guided superficial cervical plexus block for anesthesia and analgesia in emergency care settings.

Herring AA, Stone MB, Frenkel O, Chipman A, Nagdev AD.

Am J Emerg Med. 2012 Sep;30(7):1263-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2011.06.023. Epub 2011 Oct 24.