digital nerve block

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Digital nerve block is the anaesthetising of the digital nerves of the fingers. They divide up into dorsolateral and volar branches at the metacarpophalangeal joint and both need to be anaesthetised.

The patient's hand is laid flat with the dorsal surface uppermost. The base of the proximal phalanx of the target finger is located. A needle is inserted directly downward at this point until its tip can be palpated on the palmar aspect of the respective finger. The needle is then withdrawn while injecting about 1ml of 1% lignocaine. The same sequence is then repeated on the other side of the same digit.

Vasoconstrictors such as adrenaline must never be used for digital anaesthesia because of the risk of ischaemia.

Last reviewed 01/2018