Safety and efficacy of the popliteal fossa nerve block when utilized for foot and ankle surgery.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The popliteal fossa nerve block (PFNB) offers numerous advantages that make it a suitable anesthetic technique for foot and ankle surgery. In this retrospective study, we investigated the acute and long-term safety and efficacy of this relatively underutilized anesthetic technique for foot and ankle surgery. A review of 834 patients who underwent foot and/or ankle surgery by the coauthor (NAA) was conducted. Four hundred sixty-seven patients received a PFNB with the aid of a peripheral nerve stimulator. Variables assessed included the quality of surgical anesthesia, postoperative analgesia and the acute and long-term incidence of postoperative neuralgia and neuropraxia. The PFNBs were performed by anesthesiologists with various levels of training at a tertiary care hospital and all were supplemented with a saphenous nerve block. The PFNB was successful as the sole anesthetic technique in 79% of the cases; 18% were converted to general anesthesia and 3% required augmentation with local anesthetic. There were no complications associated with the PFNB. There were no incidents of postoperative neuralgia or neuropraxia. Only 12% of patients with a successful block required analgesics in the PACU, while 60% of patients with a failed block required systemic analgesics for surgical site pain (p<0.01). These results suggest that the performance of the PFNB with the guidance of a peripheral nerve stimulator is a safe and effective anesthetic technique for foot and ankle surgery.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Provenzano, DA; Viscusi, ER; Adams, SB; Kerner, MB; Torjman, MC; Abidi, NA

Published Date

  • May 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 394 - 399

PubMed ID

  • 12043982

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1071-1007

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/107110070202300504


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States