Defining local nerve blocks for feline distal pelvic limb surgery: a cadaveric study

Enomoto M, Lascelles BD, Gerard MP. J Feline Med Surg. 2017 Feb 1 [Epub ahead of print]

OBJECTIVES: Anatomical and methodological detail is lacking regarding local anesthetic peripheral nerve block techniques for distal pelvic limb surgery in cats. The aim of this study was to develop, describe and test nerve block methods based on cadaveric dissections and dye injections.

METHODS: Ten pairs of feline pelvic limbs (n = 20) were dissected and the tibial nerve (T n.), common fibular (peroneal) nerve (CF n., and its two branches, the superficial fibular [peroneal] nerve [SpF n.] and the deep fibular [peroneal] nerve [DpF n.]) and the saphenous nerve (Sa n.) were identified. Based on these dissections, a 'distal crus block' (selective blockade of the CF n., T n. and Sa n.) and a 'distal pes block' (selective blockade of the SpF n., DpF n., T n. and Sa n.) were developed for surgical procedures in two different regions of the distal pelvic limb. Techniques were tested using new methylene blue (NMB) dye injections in feline pelvic limbs (n = 12). Using a 25 G × 5/8 inch needle and 1 ml syringe, 0.1 ml/kg of NMB dye solution was injected at the site of the CF n., and 0.05 ml/kg was injected at the sites of the SpF n., DpF n., Sa n. and T n. The length and circumference (fully or partially stained) of each stained nerve were measured.

RESULTS: Positive staining of nerves was observed in 12/12 limbs. The lengths stained for the CF n., DpF n., SpF n., Sa n. and T n. were 27.19 ± 7.13, 20.39 ± 5.57, 22.82 ± 7.13, 30.89 ± 6.99 and 25.16 ± 8.09 mm, respectively. The nerves were fully stained in 12, 12, 10, 11 and 11 out of 12 limbs, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These two, three-point injection methods may be an effective perioperative analgesia technique for feline distal pelvic limb procedures.