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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia
Print version ISSN 0034-7094
NAJMAN, Ilana Esquenazi; FREDERICO, Thiago Nouer; SEGURADO, Arthur Vitor Rosenti and KIMACHI, Pedro Paulo. Caudal epidural anesthesia: an anesthetic technique exclusive for pediatric use? Is it possible to use it in adults? What is the role of the ultrasound in this context?. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2011, vol.61, n.1, pp.102-109. ISSN 0034-7094. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-70942011000100011.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Caudal epidural anesthesia is the most popular regional anesthesia technique used in children. With advanced age, only the relative difficulty in localizing the sacral hiatus limits its use. However, in adults this technique has been widely used to control chronic pain by adjuvant use of fluoroscopy. Thus, the ability to locate the hiatus and define anatomical variations is the main determinant of the success and safety of caudal epidural anesthesia. In this context, the use of the ultrasound in caudal epidural anesthesia has been increasing. The objective of this review was to determine the role of the ultrasound in caudal epidural anesthesia and to demonstrate that this technique, widely used in children, is also useful and can be used in adults. CONTENT: A review of the literature on sacral anatomy and the anesthetic technique necessary to perform caudal epidural anesthesia was undertaken. Recent studies in ultrasound-guided caudal epidural anesthesia both in children and adults were also included. CONCLUSIONS: Despite its limitations, the ultrasound can be a useful tool to position the needle in the caudal space. It allows prompt identification of the sacral anatomy and real-time visualization of the injection. Considering it is portable, non-invasive, and free of radiation exposure, it is an attractive technique in the operating room especially in difficult cases. However, since its use in neuroaxis anesthesia is very primitive, more studies are necessary to make it a routine technique in anesthetic practice.
Keywords : Anesthesia, Caudal; Anesthesia, Epidural; Pediatrics; Ultrasonography.