Nerve block or regional nerve blockade is any deliberate interruption of signals traveling along a nerve, often for the purpose of pain relief. Local anesthetic nerve block (sometimes referred to as simply "nerve block") is a short-term block, usually lasting hours or days, involving the injection of an anesthetic, a corticosteroid, and other agents onto or near a nerve. Neurolytic block, the deliberate temporary degeneration of nerve fibers through the application of chemicals, heat, or freezing, produces a block that may persist for weeks, months, or indefinitely. Neurectomy, the cutting through or removal of a nerve or a section of a nerve, usually produces a permanent block. Because neurectomy of a sensory nerve is often followed, months later, by the emergence of new, more intense pain, sensory nerve neurectomy is rarely performed.
Local anesthetic nerve block (local anesthetic regional nerve blockade, or often simply nerve block) is a short-term nerve block involving the injection of local anesthetic as close to the nerve as possible for pain relief. The local anesthetic bathes the nerve and numbs the area of the body that is supplied by that nerve. The goal of the nerve block is to prevent pain by blocking the transmission of pain signals from the affected area. Local anesthetic is often combined with other drugs to potentiate or prolong the analgesia produced by the nerve block. These adjuvants may include epinephrine (or more specific alpha-adrenergic agonists), corticosteroids, opioids, or ketamine. These blocks can be either single treatments, multiple injections over a period of time, or continuous infusions.
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