Deep parasternal intercostal plane nerve block: an anatomical study

Monica W. Harbell, Natalie R. Langley, David P. Seamans, Molly B. Kraus, Frederick J. Carey, Ryan C. Craner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction The superficial and deep parasternal intercostal plane (DPIP) blocks are two new blocks for thoracic pain. There are limited cadaveric studies evaluating the dye spread with these blocks. In this study, we examined the dye spread of an ultrasound-guided DPIP block in a human cadaveric model. Methods Five ultrasound-guided DPIP blocks were performed in four unembalmed human cadavers using an in-plane approach with a linear transducer oriented in a transverse plane adjacent to the sternum. Twenty milliliters of 0.1% methylene blue were injected between ribs 3 and 4 into the plane deep to the internal intercostal muscles and superficial to the transversus thoracis muscle layer. The chest muscles were dissected, and the extent of dye spread was documented in both cephalocaudal and mediolateral directions. Results The transversus thoracis muscle slips were stained in all cadavers from 4 to 6 levels. Intercostal nerves were dyed in all specimens. Four levels of intercostal nerves were dyed in each specimen with variability in number of levels stained above and below the level of the injection. Conclusions The DPIP block spreads along the tissue plane above the transversus thoracis muscles to multiple levels to dye the intercostal nerves in this cadaver study. This block may be of clinical value for analgesia in anterior thoracic surgical procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-183
Number of pages5
JournalRegional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 6 2023


  • Nerve Block
  • Ultrasonography
  • analgesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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