Complications of femoral nerve blockade in total knee arthroplasty and strategies to reduce patient risk.
Femoral nerve catheters are widely used for analgesia in total knee arthroplasty. Although evidence suggests that catheters improve pain control and may facilitate short-term rehabilitation, few reports exist regarding their complications. This case series explores the experience of femoral nerve catheter use at high-volume orthopedic specialty hospitals. Serious complications including compartment syndrome, periprosthetic fracture, and vascular injury are reported. The authors support femoral nerve catheter use with appropriate precautions taken to reduce risk of patient falls, vascular injury, and wrong-site surgery.