Skills Required For Ultrasound-Guided Peripheral Nerve Blocks
For a specialist to carry out an ultrasound-guided nerve block procedure successfully, he or she must be completely proficient in two primary skill areas. These areas are real-time ultrasound interpretation and needle-to-ultrasound beam alignment. One must also have excellent hand-eye coordination, as this is the well-needed skill of correct and safe needle placement. To carry out an error-free nerve block process, it is essential that the medical professional is able to recognize anatomical landmarks flawlessly.
If a specialist is to master the art of conducting nerve block procedures, then a vast amount of practice will be required for them to become adept at ultrasound image interpretation. Those who are just learning or practicing the art of ultrasound-guided nerve block tend to make the same errors as it relates to the visualization of the needle. They do not accurately look at or are not able to see the needle before they proceed with advancing it. The specific reason for this may be the constant, yet accidental shifting of the probe.
Because of the mistakes made in the procedure due to poor visualization of the needle, a needle guidance device was designed. It facilitates a better view of the needle during the nerve-blocking process, as proven by a study carried out. The study also evidenced that the needle guidance device aided with decreasing the procedure’s time. Even though this innovation proved to be helpful, it also negatively affected the transducer movement, as it restricted it.
Individuals who are learning to perform ultrasound-guided nerve are recommended to practice their skills of ultrasound interpretation, hand-eye coordination and needle-to-ultrasound beam alignment. One classical option is to use dummies. These dummies are referred to as Phantoms, and they tend to be made with varying materials. Some of these models can be store-bought or homemade. Examples of these are gelatine-based phantoms; these can be DIY dummies. There is also tofu, water baths, and the use of various animal tissues. When you are choosing a model, it should be based on the skill that you would like to develop. However, the selection process can be affected by the cost of the phantom. It may also be affected by the ability of the model to provide tactile feedback and its availability.
It’s certain that good foundation for ultrasound-guided nerve blocks is basic anatomy and today’s technology provides more than phantoms, NerveBlox have developed an artificial intelligence tool that is able to capture real-time images from any ultrasonography (US) device. Then the captured images are processed by state-of-the-art artificial intelligence algorithms. All of the anatomical landmarks are then automatically labelled for the user.
We encourage you to take part in training exercises with those who are experts at the skills you intend to improve. Research has shown that the practice mentioned above paired with organized feedback while training helps to improve skill performance, enhance the attainment of skills, and increase its efficiency drastically.
- Huang. J, Li. J, Wang. H. (2018). The Principles and Procedures of Ultrasound-guided Anesthesia Techniques. Retrieved 13/09/2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6141058/#:~:text=In%20order%20to%20perform%20successful,of%20ultrasound%2Dguided%20nerve%20blocks.