Interscalene Block

What Is an Interscalene Block?

An interscalene block is a form of pain management during and after shoulder surgery. Nerve blocks are useful after surgery for pain relief, which helps you being physical therapy and other necessary treatments to aid in your healing process.

There is a system of nerves called Brachial Plexus, which is responsible for the motion and sensation in your hand, forearm, upper arm, and shoulder. This system of nerves moves between your anterior and medial scalene muscles, which are found on the side of your neck. With an interscalene block your doctor administers a pain killer injection within the area near the brachial plexus.

An interscalene block briefly disrupts feeling and movement to the area where injected. This provides pain relief during and after surgery.

What does the procedure look like?

Once situated on an exam table, with your head turned away from the block, the area to be injected will be sterilized and cleaned before your doctor inserts the anesthetic. This anesthetic works to block pain and motor signals to your brain.

You’ll likely have the block administered on the side of your neck, either towards the back or the front of your body. The injection will block the shoulder muscles, including the teres major, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, and the deltoid.

While helpful, the interscalene block generally lasts less than a day. This might seem like a brief period of time, however it is usually enough to supplement pain medications directly after surgery.

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