Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia simulation: use of meat glue in inexpensive and realistic nerve block models

Leily Naraghi, Judy Lin, Kay Odashima, Simran Buttar, Lawrence Haines, Eitan Dickman
BMC Medical Education 2019 May 15, 19 (1): 145

BACKGROUND: Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia (UGRA) is increasingly used by emergency physicians to provide safe and effective pain relief for patients. However, one of the factors limiting its widespread use is the lack of realistic models available for learners to train on. There are currently no inexpensive nerve block models available that are injectable and that closely mimic nerves, fascial planes, muscles, and other landmarks. Our aim is to create inexpensive, injectable nerve block models that can be used as effective medical training tools for UGRA.

METHODS: By using a lean cut of pork such as pork loin, yarn soaked in ultrasound gel to simulate peripheral nerves, and drinking straws filled with gel to represent vascular structures, we created various nerve block models. Meat glue applied between sections of meat appears hyperechoic under ultrasound, thereby mimicking fascial planes and has the added benefit of helping to secure the components of the model together. Using these elements, we were able to create realistic peripheral nerve, fascia iliaca compartment, serratus anterior plane, and interscalene brachial plexus models.

RESULTS: One of the necessary skills in performing UGRA involves placing the needle tip along a fascial plane and visualizing hydrodissection of this plane with the local anesthetic. When meat glue (transglutaminase) is applied between layers of meat such as pork loin, the meat binds together and creates a hyperechoic line that mimics a fascial plane. When meat glue is applied to two apposing fascial layers naturally occurring on the meat, the fascial plane can be injected, and fluid can be seen hydrodissecting in this space. We created several nerve block models using meat glue and other components to mimic normal landmarks.

CONCLUSIONS: We have developed inexpensive and easily reproducible models that create the realistic appearance of tissues, nerves, and fascial planes under ultrasound. They can also accurately simulate hydrodissection of fluid in fascial planes. We hope these nerve block models will allow for the education in UGRA to be more widespread and accessible to learners from all specialties.

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