Ultrasound guided lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) block: Safe and simple anesthesia for harvesting skin grafts
Many burn patients experience more intense pain from the split thickness skin donor site than in the grafted burn wound in their postoperative period. Often, split thickness autografts are harvested from the lateral thigh area, which is innervated by the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). Sonographic nerve localization has been an increasingly popular technique to provide regional nerve blocks and we explore its role in improving pain control during skin harvesting. The LFCN was identified and blocked using ultrasound in 16 patients with a variety of wounds. The donor site was tested and marked after the injection. General anesthesia or sedation was administered after markings were completed. A postoperative survey was performed to assess the return of sensation at the donor site. All blocks were successful with adequate visualization of LFCN using ultrasound. Full anesthesia at the donor site, defined as absence of pain in response to a sharp object prick, was tested at 15 min and confirmed at 20 min after the block. The size of the anesthetized field ranged from 119 to 630 cm2, with a mean surface area of 268.5 cm2. Donor site sensation returned within 5-16 h with a mean time of 9.1 h. Ultrasound guided LFCN block provides a simple and safe choice of anesthesia for harvesting skin from the lateral thigh. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and ISBI.
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School of Medicine