Coracoid blocks are often used to provide anesthesia for surgery involving the arm, elbow, wrist, and hand. Sedation is applied as the first step and will likely cause you to have no recollection of the consequent injection. Next, the anesthesiologist will clean the front of your chest near your collarbone with an iodine containing solution. A thin needle is then inserted in front of your shoulder; shortly thereafter, your arm, wrist, or hand will begin twitching involuntarily. Your anesthesiologist may often use ultrasound to guide the needle. You may notice a sticky residue on your chest after surgery, which is the ultrasound gel.
Once the appropriate twitch is elicited, the anesthesiologist will begin injecting a lidocaine-like medicine to make your arm numb. Your arm, down to the fingers, will become progressively heavy and numb until you won’t be able to move it any longer. During this period – which takes about 20 minutes - the surgeons will be positioning and cleaning your arm.
The numbness and immobility lasts anywhere from 4 to approximately 18 hours depending on which local anesthetics are used.
As with any anesthetic, there are risks and benefits to coracoid blocks. These particulars can be discussed with your anesthesiologist before your surgery.