Suprascapular Blocks

Trends are evolving in decreasing intraoperative and postoperative opioid use.  Therefore, anesthesiologists are constantly learning new regional techniques to help with postoperative pain.  For shoulder surgeries, I’ve moved away from interscalene blocks toward supraclavicular blocks.  I think the interscalene block provides a better block of a total shoulder surgery, however, certain patient comorbidities often make the supraclavicular block a better choice.

Nice paper from Anesthesiology, Dec 2017: Suprascapular and Interscalene Nerve Block for Shoulder Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Anesthesiology 12 2017, Vol.127, 998-1013.

Nowadays, it seems that suprascapular blocks are gaining in popularity (I’d probably use it to supplement the supraclavicular block.

Supplies and Technique (from USRA):

Suprascapular Nerve

ssn1

How to position the ultrasound probe:

ssn5
From USRA

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Ultrasound Image

ssn4
From USRA.  SSM = supraspinatus muscle
SSA = suprascapular artery
SSN = suprascapular nerve
TZM = trapezius muscle
STSL = superior transverse scapular ligament

05_1_c_shoulder-suprascapular-artery-and-nerve_labels

Useful Links


Update: June 19, 2018

Comparison of Anterior Suprascapular, Supraclavicular, and Interscalene Nerve Block Approaches for Major Outpatient Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery: A Randomized, Double-blind, Noninferiority Trial. Anesthesiology 7 2018, Vol.129, 47-57.

PEEP Alone Atelectasis
From Anesthesiology, July 2018
  • Conclusions: The anterior suprascapular block, but not the supraclavicular, provides noninferior analgesia compared to the interscalene approach for major arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Pulmonary function is best preserved with the anterior suprascapular nerve block.
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