A cadaver study comparing two approaches for performing maxillary nerve block in dogs


Jaime Viscasillas, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, UK. E-mail: jviscasillas@rvc.ac.uk


Objective  To compare the success by inexperienced anaesthetists of using a modified infraorbital approach to the maxillary nerve with the traditional percutaneous approach.

Study design  Prospective, randomized, blinded controlled study.

Animals  Heads from 37 euthanized Beagle and Beagle cross dogs.

Methods  Four anaesthetists were recruited to perform two different approaches to block the maxillary nerve of the cadavers. The infraorbital (I) approach advanced an intravenous catheter along the infraorbital canal. Earlier measurements from scans of similar heads were used to assess suitable catheter size. The percutaneous (P) approach introduced a needle percutaneously just below the ventral border of the zygomatic arch. The side of the head where the technique was to be performed was randomized. A total volume of 0.5 mL methylene blue was injected in each approach. After completion of injections, head dissections were performed by an investigator unaware of the approach used and staining of the maxillary and pterygopalatine nerves was evaluated. Chi squared analysis examined the relationship between the methods (< 0.05). Complications related to the techniques, such as intravascular/intraneural injection and location of the dye, were evaluated macroscopically.

Results  Maxillary nerve staining >6 mm was found in 64.9% (I) versus 21.6% (P) attempts; staining <6 mm was found in 27% (I) versus 21.6% (P); and no nerve staining 8.1% (I) versus 56.8% (M). Pterygopalatine nerve staining was found in 70% (I) versus 21% (P). The infraorbital approach demonstrated significantly higher maxillary and pterygopalatine nerve staining compared to the percutaneous approach (= 0.001 for both nerves). No evidence of intravascular/intraneural injections was found.

Conclusion and clinical relevance  The infraorbital approach was more successful than the percutaneous approach when performed by inexperienced anaesthetists. No macroscopic complications were observed.