Paravertebral block: anatomy and relevant safety issues.

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Korean J Anesthesiol


Paravertebral block, especially thoracic paravertebral block, is an effective regional anesthetic technique that can provide significant analgesia for numerous surgical procedures, including breast surgery, pulmonary surgery, and herniorrhaphy. The technique, although straightforward, is not devoid of potential adverse effects. Proper anatomic knowledge and adequate technique may help decrease the risk of these effects. In this brief discourse, we discuss the anatomy and technical aspects of paravertebral blocks and emphasize the importance of appropriate needle manipulation in order to minimize the risk of complications. We propose that, when using a landmark-based approach, limiting medial and lateral needle orientation and implementing caudal (rather than cephalad) needle redirection may provide an extra margin of safety when performing this technique. Likewise, recognizing a target that is not in close proximity to the neurovascular bundle when using ultrasound guidance may be beneficial.