Clinical Case Database / Category: Practical Procedure

Regional anaesthesia for shoulder surgery

Publication details

Dr D Hallsworth* FRCA, Dr A Kapila FRCA, Dr K Place FRCA
Foundation Years Journal, volume 6, issue 5, p.6 (123Doc Education, London, May 2012)


Shoulder surgery is a common orthopaedic procedure performed on both an inpatient and day-case basis. Excellent analgesia is essential for early mobilisation and improved postoperative function. Regional anaesthesia is used to provide good operating conditions and long lasting pain relief. Patients need to be clearly counselled how to look after the 'blocked' arm and to expect common side effects. Analgesia planning for when the block wears off is paramount. Dangerous complications are rare, but should be actively looked for in patients with atypical symptoms or slow recovery. In this article, we review the interscalene brachial plexus block and discuss the approach to some common postoperative problems.

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Dr D Hallsworth* FRCA

Anaesthetics Registrar
Royal Berkshire Hospital

Dr A Kapila FRCA

Consultant Anaesthetist
Royal Berkshire Hospital

Dr K Place FRCA

Anaesthetics Consultant
Royal Berkshire Hospital


1. Brull R. Neurological complications after regional anaesthesia: contemporary
estimates of risk. Anaesh Analg 2007, 104(4): 965-974
2. European Society of Regional Anaesthesia Handbook of Regional
Anaesthesia. 2007,
3. Horlocker TT et al. Regional Anesthesia in the Patient Receiving
Antithrombotic or Thrombolytic Therapy. Reg Anesth Pain Med 2010: 64-101
4. Winnie AP. Interscalene brachial plexus block. Anesth Analg 1970, 49(3):


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About the Clinical Cases Database

T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

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