Sonographic visualization and ultrasound-guided block of the third occipital nerve: prospective for a new method to diagnose C2-C3 zygapophysial joint pain

Eichenberger, Urs; Greher, Manfred; Kapral, Stephan; Marhofer, Peter; Wiest, Roland; Remonda, Luca; Bogduk, Nikolai; Curatolo, Michele (2006). Sonographic visualization and ultrasound-guided block of the third occipital nerve: prospective for a new method to diagnose C2-C3 zygapophysial joint pain. Anesthesiology, 104(2), pp. 303-8. Hagerstown, Md.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 10.1097/00000542-200602000-00016

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BACKGROUND: Chronic neck pain after whiplash injury is caused by cervical zygapophysial joints in 50% of patients. Diagnostic blocks of nerves supplying the joints are performed using fluoroscopy. The authors' hypothesis was that the third occipital nerve can be visualized and blocked with use of an ultrasound-guided technique. METHODS: In 14 volunteers, the authors placed a needle ultrasound-guided to the third occipital nerve on both sides of the neck. They punctured caudal and perpendicular to the 14-MHz transducer. In 11 volunteers, 0.9 ml of either local anesthetic or normal saline was applied in a randomized, double-blind, crossover manner. Anesthesia was controlled in the corresponding skin area by pinprick and cold testing. The position of the needle was controlled by fluoroscopy. RESULTS: The third occipital nerve could be visualized in all subjects and showed a median diameter of 2.0 mm. Anesthesia was missing after local anesthetic in only one case. There was neither anesthesia nor hyposensitivity after any of the saline injections. The C2-C3 joint, in a transversal plane visualized as a convex density, was identified correctly by ultrasound in 27 of 28 cases, and 23 needles were placed correctly into the target zone. CONCLUSIONS: The third occipital nerve can be visualized and blocked with use of an ultrasound-guided technique. The needles were positioned accurately in 82% of cases as confirmed by fluoroscopy; the nerve was blocked in 90% of cases. Because ultrasound is the only available technique today to visualize this nerve, it seems to be a promising new method for block guidance instead of fluoroscopy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Eichenberger, Urs; Wiest, Roland; Remonda, Luca and Curatolo, Michele

ISSN:

0003-3022

ISBN:

16436850

Publisher:

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Language:

English

Submitter:

Jeannie Wurz

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:46

Last Modified:

23 Jan 2018 12:18

Publisher DOI:

10.1097/00000542-200602000-00016

PubMed ID:

16436850

Web of Science ID:

000234985500014

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/18973 (FactScience: 1249)

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