Patient Information Sheet – Obturator Nerve Block

Patient Information Sheet – Obturator Nerve Block

What is the Obturator Nerve Block?

An obturator nerve block is a nerve block administered to the areas including hip, anterior thigh, knee, lower leg or foot.

The obturator nerve supplies a small, variable amount of skin on the medial aspect of the knee and lower thigh. Importantly enough, it also has branches to the knee and hip joint.

Experts suggest that the obturator nerve is a mixed nerve, which in most cases, provides motor function to the adductor muscles and cutaneous sensation to a small area behind the knee.

Why is the Obturator Nerve Block used?

A neural blockade in the form of an obturator nerve block is generally used for one or more of the below listed purposes:

  • Diagnostic: To determine whether the nerve in question is the actual source of pain.
  • Therapeutic: To treat painful conditions that respond positively to the nerve blocks.
  • Prognostic: To predict outcome of permanent interventions such as infusion, neurolysis and rhizotomy.
  • Preemptive: To prevent painful sequence of procedures that may cause phantom limb, causalgia or reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

What are the conditions treated by the Obturator Nerve Block?

An obturator nerve block is most often used to treat hip joint pain and in the relief of adductor muscle spasm associated with hemi-or paraplegia.

Occasionally, the obturator nerve block is also used in urological surgery to suppress the obturator reflex during the transurethral resection of the lateral bladder wall.

In fact, research strongly suggests that the obturator reflex is not prevented by spinal anesthesia and can only be suppressed by a selective obturator nerve block.

In addition, the obturator nerve block may also be successfully used in diagnosing the causes of pain in the hip region. Besides, the block of obturator nerve relieves both, the spasm of the adductors and the hip pain, often associated with cerebral palsy.

Will I experience any complications?

There are no reports of complications associated with the obturator nerve block. However, a few but serious complications could occur because of the obturator nerve block. Here we list the main amongst them:

  • If advanced too far in a cephalad direction, the needle can pass over the superior pubic ramus and penetrate the pelvic cavity, perforating the bladder, rectum and spermatic cord.
  • Accidental puncture of the obturator vessels could result in an unintentional intravascular injection.
  • Nerve ischemia or local anesthetic toxicity are also possible, as in other peripheral nerve block techniques.

Should I take any precautions?

Generally, you should keep your food and drink intake to the minimum within a few hours before the procedure.

Besides, you should arrange for someone to drive you back home, as you will not be permitted by your doctor to drive on your own.

Hip pain information and case reports