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Digital Block

  • • Provides analgesia in the fingers and toes for treatment of fractures, dislocations, and lacerations.

Hematoma Block

  • • Analgesia for fracture reduction.

    • Most commonly used to reduce distal radius fractures or fractures of the fifth metacarpal (boxer’s fractures).


  • • Skin or soft tissue infection at or near the area to be injected.

    • Allergy to lidocaine or other agents used for regional anesthesia.

  • • 5- or 10-mL syringe.

    • 18-gauge needle to draw medicine; 25–27-gauge needle to inject medicine.

    • Alcohol swabs to clean skin.

    • 1% or 2% plain lidocaine (no epinephrine) or 0.25% bupivacaine (can be combined 1:1).

  • • Inadequate pain relief.

    • Allergic reaction.

  • • Complete and document a neurologic examination before injecting the anesthetic.

    • Do not use epinephrine in the digits because it can result in ischemia, necrosis, and potential loss of the digit.

    • The maximum lidocaine dose is 5 mg/kg (1% lidocaine has 10 mg/mL; 2% has 20 mg/mL).

    • The maximum bupivacaine dose is 2 mg/kg.

    • A lidocaine injection provides approximately 2 hours of pain control, while a lidocaine/bupivacaine mixture (1:1) provides approximately 5–7 hours of pain relief.

  • • For a digital block, pronate the patient’s hand and place it on a flat surface.

    • For the hematoma block, place the patient’s affected extremity on a flat surface.

  • • There are 2 dorsal nerves and 2 palmar/plantar nerves that innervate each digit; these are the proper digital nerves and they run with the proper digital arteries on the medial/lateral aspect of the digits.

Digital Block

  • • The needle is inserted 1–2 cm proximal to the webspace on 1 side of the digit (Figure 55–1).

  • • It is advanced palmar/plantar to anesthetize those digital nerves.

    • Aspirate to be sure the needle is not intravascular.

    • Inject the lidocaine as the needle is slowly pulled out dorsally.

    • Repeat the procedure on the other side of the digit.

    • This is not a large area; commonly 3–5 mL total of anesthetic is sufficient.

    • Massage the area to help spread the agent.

Hematoma Block

  • • Identify the fracture site and place the needle into the fracture site (dorsal approach for both distal radius and boxer’s fractures) (Figure 55–2).

  • • Continue to aspirate until a flash of blood appears, redirecting the needle as necessary.

    • After the flash of blood, slowly inject the lidocaine.

  • • Watch for vascular changes; vasospasm can occur but should resolve spontaneously.

    • The digit ...

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