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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ultrasound-Guided Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Cryoneurolysis for Analgesia in Patients With Burns.

  • Author(s): Finneran, John J
  • Swisher, Matthew W
  • Gabriel, Rodney A
  • Fiallo, Alfredo
  • Hamilton, Jeffrey R
  • Lee, Jeanne G
  • Ilfeld, Brian M
  • et al.

Autologous skin grafting from the thigh is frequently required for treatment of burns and is associated with intense pain at the donor site. Local anesthetic-based (LA) nerve blocks of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) have been demonstrated to provide analgesia when the graft is taken from the lateral thigh. However, the duration of these single injection blocks has been reported to average only 9 hours, whereas the pain from the procedure lasts days or weeks. Continuous LA nerve blocks can also be used to provide analgesia during serial debridement of burns, although this requires placement of a perineural catheter which may increase infection risk in a population with an increased susceptibility to infection. Cryoneurolysis of the LFCN can potentially provide analgesia of the lateral thigh for skin graft harvesting or serial burn debridement that lasts far longer than conventional LA nerve blocks. Here, we present a series of three patients who received a combination of a LA nerve block and cryoneurolysis nerve block of the LFCN for analgesia of the lateral thigh. Two of these patients had the blocks placed before harvesting a split thickness skin graft. The third received the blocks for outpatient wound care of a burn to the lateral thigh. In all cases, the resulting analgesia lasted more than 1 week. A single cryoneurolysis block of the LFCN successfully provided extended duration analgesia of the lateral thigh for autologous skin graft donor site or wound care of a burn in three patients.

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