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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 139-140

Failure of PECS 2 block and a numb hand!!

1 Department of Anaesthesiology, Dr. Hedgewar Hospital, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Anaesthesiology, Sancheti Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Anaesthesiology, Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sandeep Diwan
Department of Aneasthesiology, Sancheti Hospital, Pune - 411 005, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_587_19

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Date of Submission14-Sep-2019
Date of Acceptance19-Sep-2019
Date of Web Publication6-Jan-2020

How to cite this article:
Kulkarni M, Diwan S, Nair A. Failure of PECS 2 block and a numb hand!!. Saudi J Anaesth 2020;14:139-40

How to cite this URL:
Kulkarni M, Diwan S, Nair A. Failure of PECS 2 block and a numb hand!!. Saudi J Anaesth [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jul 31];14:139-40. Available from:

To the Editor,

A 44 year female with no systemic co-morbidities (American Society of Anesthesiologists'-physical status 1) diagnosed with cystosarcoma phylloides of right breast was posted for a simple mastectomy. It was planned to administer a US guided PECS 2 block as a part of multimodal analgesia along with general anaesthesia using a supraglottic airway. A pre-anaesthesia check up was done. All relevant investigations were normal.

After confirming a 6 hrs nil by mouth status, patient was shifted to the block room. In the block room she received an ultrasound (US) guided PEC 2 block [2 injections- 10 ml of 0.2% ropivacaine between pectoralis major muscle (PMm) and pectoralis minor muscle (Pmm) and 20 ml of 0.2% ropivacaine between Pmm and serratus anterior muscle (SAM)] under due asepsis using a 100 mm stimulating needle (Stimuplex® Ultra 360®, B. Braun Medical Inc).

While wheeling the patient to the operating room, the patient complained of tingling and numbness of fingers of right hand. She was unable to flex and extend elbow, wrist and fingers. After reassuring her, general anaesthesia was induced with 1.5 mg midazolam, 100 μg fentanyl and 200 mg propofol IV. Airway was secured with a 3 sized supraglottic airway (I-Gel).

Intraoperatively, she required a total 200 μg of fentanyl which was suggestive of block failure. During exploration of the axillary fossa the surgeon pointed out towards local anaesthesia collection under a defined sheath [Figure 1]. The operative procedure was uneventful. On postoperative day 2 the right limb did not demonstrate motor power. Tingling and numbness persisted till 5th postoperative day and resolved without any neurological deficit.
Figure 1: Accumulation of local anaesthetic (LA) in axillary fossa after US-guided PECS 2 block. (PECMa- Pectoralis Major muscle, PECMi- PEctoralis minor muscle, LA- local anaesthetic)

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  Discussion Top

Blanco[1],[2] described US guided PECS I and 2 block, to provide postoperative analgesia for breast surgery.[1],[2] LA injected in PECS 2 plane involves 20 ml local anaesthetic administration in the plane between SAM and Pmm and another injection between PMm and Pmm. The LA travelled as far as the mid axillary line. Pérez et al. described another technique in which the probe is placed at the outer third of clavicle, the needle is introduced from medial to lateral.[3] However, they did not describe the flow of the LA. A radiological and cadaver study demonstrated the feasibility of anterior approach to serratus anterior interfascial plane and effectively blocking the intercostobrachial nerve and lateral intercostal cutaneous nerves.[4]

In 25 Thiel based cadavers, 10 ml of 0.2% aqueous methylene blue solution was injected from medial to lateral using a single-entry point—triple injection technique.[5] The three subsequent infiltrations were deep to lateral part of the Pmm, between PMm and Pmm, and between PMm and its posterior fascia under US guidance. Upon dissection the lateral and medial pectoral nerves were stained leaving the brachial plexus cords unstained. The study confirmed that 10 ml of solution is sufficient to stain all the medial and lateral pectoral nerve branches without a proximal extension to the cords of the brachial plexus.

In our case the block failed due to spread across components of brachial sheath as LA was seen accumulated in the axillary fossa as a well-defined swelling. The probable reason for early signs of brachial plexus block was action of LA directly on the brachial plexus cords and nerves in the axilla. Since it was a simple mastectomy without axillary clearance the LA accumulation was not drained.

A probable anomalous path might be present which could explain the suspected LA accumulation distal to the site of injection.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Blanco R. The “Pecs block”: A novel technique for providing analgesia after breast surgery. Anaesthesia 2011;66:847-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Blanco R, Fajardo M, Parras Maldonado T. Ultrasound description of Pecs II (modified Pecs I): A novel approach to breast surgery. Rev Esp Anestesiol Reanim 2012;59:470-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
Pérez MF, Miguel JG, de la Torre PA. A new approach to pectoralis block. Anaesthesia 2013;68:430.  Back to cited text no. 3
Torre PA, Jones JW Jr, Álvarez SL, Garcia PD, Miguel FJ, Rubio EM, et al. Axillary local anesthetic spread after the thoracic interfacial ultrasound block-A cadaveric and radiological evaluation. Rev Bras Anestesiol 2017;67:555-64.  Back to cited text no. 4
Desroches J, Grabs U, Grabs D. Selective Ultrasound guided pectoral nerve targeting in breast augmentation: How to spare the brachial plexus cords? Clin Anat 2013;26:49-55.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1]


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