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Nerve Block

At Des Moines Plastic Surgery we strive to make your surgical experience one of satisfaction and comfort. Multiple types of anesthesia can be used for your procedure. In our facility, these include general anesthesia alone or general anesthesia in combination with regional anesthetic, also known as a peripheral nerve block.

WHAT IS A PERIPHERAL NERVE BLOCK?

Numbing medication is injected near a cluster of nerves to numb only the area of your body that requires surgery. This is called a nerve block. A nerve block can allow your surgery to be done with highly decreased pain after your procedure. Also with a never block, you will get the anesthetic benefits of less opioid (narcotic) use during your surgery while still experiencing general anesthesia in the operating room. Regional anesthesia will be offered on a specific breast procedures (breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lifts) and tummy tucks. Regardless of what type of anesthesia you receive, there will always be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) with you in the operating room (OR) to make sure you are safe and comfortable.

What are the benefits of regional anesthesia?

1. Faster recovery
2. Better pain control than opioid (narcotic) pain medications alone
3. Decreased need for opioid pain medications during and after your surgery, therefore less side effects which can include sedation, nausea, constipation, and itching
4. Pain relief for 24-72 hours after your surgery

Does it hurt to get a nerve block?

The types of never blocks provided in our OR are all placed after you are asleep with general anesthetic, but before your surgical procedure starts.

What are the risks of general anesthesia?

Like any other medical procedure, there are risks associated with general anesthesia. Complications or side effects can occur and can include infection, bleeding, damage to surrounding tissues including blood vessels or muscle tissue, reaction to the medication, or failure of the numbing medicine to have an affect.

Long-term or permanent nerve injury after a regional nerve block is rare and may occur in approximately 2 out of every 10,000 blocks performed. To decrease many of these risks, nerve blocks are typically placed in a sterile manner using an ultrasound machine to guide placement of the nerve block. The specific risks may vary with the particular procedure. You should ask your CRNA about any additional risks that may be associated with your particular anesthetic plan. You should also feel free to talk to Dr. Robbins and the CRNA about your options for anesthesia, pain control after surgery, their benefits and possible risks.

Nerve Blocks in Breast Surgery

One of the most exciting new concepts in plastic surgery has been the recent development of regional nerve blocks for breast and abdominal surgery. These blocks require ultrasound guidance to place and last approximately 6-8 hours after surgery. That means less pain and less narcotics in the early post-operative period which also translates into less nausea.

At Des Moines Plastic Surgery, we strive to provide the newest and latest techniques so our patients have the best experience possible.

What are Nerve Blocks?

Blocking the nerves involved in abdominal or breast surgery is done with the help of ultrasound guidance.

TAP Nerve Block

The TAP nerve block “is a peripheral nerve block designed to anesthetize the nerves supplying the anterior abdominal wall (T6 to L1).” What that means is that this procedure is used to stop the pain in the abdominal wall without introducing as much pain medication.  The anesthetic is placed between the abdominal muscles and the tissue on top of it.

PECS 1 and 2 Nerve Blocks

The PECS 1 and 2 nerve blocks are used to lessen the pain when the chest area is being worked on. Much like the TAP nerve block, the PECS 1 and 2 target the nerves between muscles that relay pain messages. Using the PECS 1 or 2 nerve blocks can allow for less pain medication following the procedures.

Being able to use these nerve blocks, TAP never block, PECS 1 and 2 nerve blocks, lets our patients use less medication during and after surgery. This can help decrease opioid use and nausea and vomiting that can occur after surgery.

If you want to learn more about how we use nerve blocks during surgery to make the experience better for our clients, please contact us for a consultation.

About TAP Block During Tummy Tuck Recovery

What is a TAP block?
A TAP or Transversus Abdominis Plane nerve block is an injection of local anesthetic (numbing medication) that provides pain control after surgery. The injection numbs the skin and muscles of the lower abdomen from the belly button to the upper thigh. The numbness usually lasts between 12-24 hours, however this can vary with each patient.

How is a TAP block performed?
The injection is performed in the operating room after you are asleep. The anesthesiologist uses and ultrasound machine to visualize the muscle layers of the abdomen and then injects anesthetic between the muscle layers. This medication numbs the nerves that supply sensation to the lower abdomen.

Which patients benefit from a TAP block?
Patients having lower abdominal surgery such as an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) benefit from at TAP block.

Benefits of TAP Block
Patients that receive a nerve block require less anesthesia during surgery and less pain medication after surgery. As a result, patients have fewer side effects such as nausea, vomiting, constipation and feel more alert after surgery

Risks
This is a low risk nerve block. However, as with any injection, there is a small risk of bleeding, infection, injury to other structures and local anesthetic toxicity.

Other considerations
A TAP block is part of multimodel pain control and does not eliminate all postoperative pain. Depending on the type of surgery and each patient’s perception of pain, patients may still need additional pain medication after surgery.

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