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


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

Pubmed Central ID

  • 12043982

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1944-7876

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1071-1007

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/107110070202300504


  • eng