Journal of Anesthesia

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 100–102

Failure of supraclavicular block under ultrasound guidance: clinical relevance of anatomical variation of cervical vessels

Clinical Report

DOI: 10.1007/s00540-011-1252-y

Cite this article as:
Kinjo, S. & Frankel, A. J Anesth (2012) 26: 100. doi:10.1007/s00540-011-1252-y


We describe a case with partial analgesia after ultrasound-guided supraclavicular block for elbow surgery. The failure of the block was caused by the limited spread of local anesthetic because of blockage by a vessel (either transverse cervical artery or dorsal scapular artery) running through the brachial plexus. Anesthesiologists should be aware that cervical anatomy is complex and has anatomical variations. Thus, careful ultrasound screening of anatomical structure, especially using color Doppler, is important in performing brachial plexus block.


Peripheral nerve blockSupraclavicular brachial plexus blockUltrasound guided

Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative CareUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Medical Anesthesia ConsultantsSan RamonUSA