Scientific Articles   |    
Lower-Extremity Peripheral Nerve Blocks in the Perioperative Pain Management of Orthopaedic PatientsAAOS Exhibit Selection
Benjamin E. Stein, MD1; Umasuthan Srikumaran, MD1; Eric W. Tan, MD1; Michael T. Freehill, MD1; John H. Wilckens, MD1
1 c/o Elaine P. Henze, BJ, ELS, Medical Editor and Director, Editorial Services, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University/Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, 4940 Eastern Avenue #A665, Baltimore, MD 21224-2780. E-mail address: ehenze1@jhmi.edu
View Disclosures and Other Information
  • Disclosure statement for author(s): PDF

Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. One or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2012 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2012 Nov 21;94(22):e167 1-13. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.K.01706
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case



The utilization of peripheral nerve blocks in orthopaedic surgery has paralleled the rise in the number of ambulatory surgical procedures performed. Optimization of pain control in the perioperative orthopaedic patient contributes to improved patient satisfaction, early mobilization, decreased length of hospitalization, and decreased associated hospital and patient costs. Our purpose was to provide a concise, pertinent review of the use of peripheral nerve blocks in various orthopaedic procedures of the lower extremity, with specific focus on procedural anatomy, indications, patient outcome measures, and complications.


We reviewed the literature and reference textbooks on commonly performed lower-extremity peripheral nerve block procedures in orthopaedic surgery, focusing on those most commonly used.


The use of lower-extremity peripheral nerve blocks is a safe and effective approach to perioperative pain management. Different techniques and timing can have an important impact on patient satisfaction, and each technique has specific indications and complications. For major hip surgery, one of the most commonly used is the lumbar plexus block, which can result in early mobilization, reduced postoperative pain, and decreased opioid-associated adverse events. Associated complications include epidural spread of anesthesia, retroperitoneal hematoma formation, and postoperative falls. For arthroscopic and open knee procedures, the femoral nerve block is frequently used adjunctively. It provides improved early postoperative pain control, early mobilization with therapy, and increased patient satisfaction compared with intra-articular or intravenous opioids alone; it also provides cost savings. However, some studies have shown no significant difference in outcome measures compared with intra-articular opioids alone for arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Associated complications include nerve injury, intravascular injection, and postoperative falls.


The use of peripheral nerve blocks in lower-extremity surgery is becoming a mainstay of perioperative pain management strategy.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org


    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe

    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    PubMed Articles
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    OH - OhioHealth Research and Innovation Institute (OHRI)
    OK - The University of Oklahoma