The first brachial plexus block was performed less than a year following Carl Koller’s discovery of the anesthetic properties of cocaine in 1884. William S. Halsted injected each of the roots of the brachial plexus with cocaine under direct visualization after surgical exposure. In some respects, the anesthetic method was as extensive as the surgical procedure. In 1911, G. Hirschel described a percutaneous technique for brachial plexus blockade by injecting local anesthetic around the axillary artery. A century later, the science of brachial plexus block has become one of the most important anesthetic and analgesic techniques for the upper extremity.


Brachial Plexus Axillary Artery Needle Placement Brachial Plexus Block Musculocutaneous Nerve 


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Copyright information

© American Academy of Pain Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyWalter Reed National Medical Center, Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain ManagementRockvilleUSA

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