Ultrasound guidance for regional anaesthesia.
The technology and clinical understanding of anatomical sonography has evolved greatly over the past decade. In the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, ultrasonography has become a routine technique for regional anaesthetic nerve block. Recent studies have shown that direct visualization of the distribution of local anaesthetics with high-frequency probes can improve the quality and avoid the complications of upper/lower extremity nerve blocks and neuroaxial techniques. Ultrasound guidance enables the anaesthetist to secure an accurate needle position and to monitor the distribution of the local anaesthetic in real time. The advantages over conventional guidance techniques, such as nerve stimulation and loss-of-resistance procedures, are significant. This review introduces the reader to the theory and practice of ultrasound-guided anaesthetic techniques in adults and children. Considering their enormous potential, these techniques should have a role in the future training of anaesthetists.