What is an Intercostal Nerve Block?
The intercostal nerves (ICNs) innervate the major parts of the skin and musculature of the chest and abdominal wall. In 1981, continuous ICNB was introduced to overcome the problems associated with repeated multiple injections. Today, ICNB is used in a variety of acute and chronic pain conditions affecting the thorax and upper abdomen, including breast and chest wall surgery. Introduction of ultrasound guidance to the practice of regional anesthesia further facilitates its practice. The disadvantages of intercostal block, however, include the requirement for technical expertise, risks of pneumothorax, and local anesthetic toxicity with multiple levels of blockade.