The potential benefits of regional anesthesia for both healthcare providers and patients are well documented, including avoiding the side effects of general anesthesia for the patient, quicker recovery and potentially same-day discharge. As regional anesthesia and peripheral nerve block techniques are increasingly used in outpatient surgeries and ambulatory surgical centres, there is an increasing focus on safety as well as economics and efficiency.
In outpatient and ambulatory surgical centres a variety of PNBs are used, including those for upper and lower extremities and head-and-neck PNBs. About 57 million outpatient procedures (surgical and nonsurgical) are performed in the United States, and in 2014, over 3 million of these cases were estimated to be orthopedic procedures.
With such significant numbers of PNBs being completed, the importance of providing safe and effective regional anesthesia is increasingly crucial for the best outcomes for significant numbers of patients. Innovations in related technologies can help to deliver both safety and simplicity.
Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia is increasingly used to aid needle placement around target nerves and avoid intra-neural injection. The advanced technology features of the innovative SONIMAGE® HS2 ultrasound system enable improved image detail and contrast resolution, enabling anesthesiologists to identify anatomical landmarks, aiding needle placement.
Simple Needle Visualization (SNV®) clearly visualizes needle insertion and the shaft and works with both ‘in-plane’ and ‘out-of-plane’ techniques. All of these features are delivered via a simple to use console and touch screen, in a robust yet portable unit.
Combined with the revolutionary SAFIRA™ device, simplicity and safety during PNBs is further supported. SAFIRA™ (SAfer Injection for Regional Anesthesia) gives the anesthesiologist total control of the injection, freeing up the previously required assistant to complete other tasks in the operating theatre or block room. The anesthesiologist can now decide when it feels appropriate to inject and make any needle adjustments immediately without waiting for an assistant’s feedback on ‘syringe feel’.
Complementing the superior visualisation of the needle provided by the HS2 System, SAFIRA™ controls the delivery of the local anesthetic, and by ensuring a steady and consistent delivery at up to 0.5mls/second, the anesthesiologist can use the ultrasound to clearly see the needle tip and the spread of injectate to ensure a safe and comprehensive nerve block. Finally, the built-in safety system and calibration automatically stops injection above 20psi, the pressure above which the risk of nerve injury has been shown to increase.
These technological innovations together support a vision to promote safer solutions that simplify use and advance better outcomes in ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia for both healthcare providers and patients.
 "Peripheral Nerve Blocks for Outpatient Surgery", Christina M. Spofford, Peter Foldes, and John Laur; https://www.nysora.com/foundations-of-regional-anesthesia/sub-specialties/outpatient/peripheral-nerve-blocks-outpatient-surgery/