UNM has been described as "Southwest's best-kept regional anesthesia secret" by the American Society of Regional Anesthesia.
Regional anesthesiologists in UNM covers the outpatient surgical center (OSIS), the main hospital (UNM level 1 trauma hospital) and the pediatrics hospital (BBRP). Collectively, they perform upwards of 4000 peripheral nerve blocks a year not including neuraxial blocks or eye blocks.
In the outpatient surgical center, most patients who receive peripheral nerve blocks DO NOT get general anesthesia, instead, they will be given sedation that allows them to have a very short recovery time and return home pain free and without the side effects of general anesthesia including nausea, vomiting and “hang over” effect. If the patient wishes, they could stay completely awake during the entire operation.
In the main hospital, the majority of surgery performed requires hospitalization. A continuous regional technique is usually performed in conjunction with multi modal analgesia. The acute pain service review the patient daily and liaise with the surgical team regarding the patients progress and pain management.
In the pediatric hospital, the patient population varies from newborns to young teens. Regional anesthesia has allowed patients who are eligible for discharge to undergo less general anesthetic and be discharged earlier and with less side effects. Patients who are hospitalized are usually offered a continuous regional technique resulting in a happier child and family unit.
Most of our regional anesthesia techniques are ultrasound-guided. Blocks we perform include: interscalene, supraclavicular, infraclavicular, axillary, elbow and mid humeral blocks, superficial cervical plexus, intercoastal brachial, lumbar plexus, femoral, lateral cutaneous nerve, obturator nerve, saphenous, parasacral, labats, subgluteal, anterior sciatic, lateral and posterior popliteal, ankle, ilioinguinal/iliohypogastric, TAP, rectus sheath blocks and paravertebral blocks.Residents rotate through all 3 hospitals and typically log 500 peripheral nerve blocks during training, which is one of the highest in the country. This is partly due to our strong relations with the orthopedic department.
The department also has a regional anesthesia fellowship position that has been filled every year. There is a didactic lecture and workshop series on regional anesthesia every month. Also, there guest speakers on regional anesthesia that are invited to lecture or give a workshop to broaden our perspective on a regular basis. Although there is a large core of 14 faculty that teaches regional anesthesia, the large number of faculty in the department are proficient in peripheral nerve blocks allowing for peripheral nerve blocks to be performed afterhours. This allows the resident to continue their regional anesthesia experience out of their 3 month of regional anesthesia rotation.
Although we are a small program, we organize a national ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia conference every year with participants coming in from all over the nation.