Field block is a special form of local infiltration that takes advantage of the subcutaneous course of many of the somatosensory cutaneous nerve branches. Blockade of a larger area can be accomplished by infiltrating the subcutaneous courses of these branches more proximally than the incision area. This technique allows less volume of a more concentrated solution of local anesthetic to block a larger area. It also permits the incision site to remain virgin, without distortion of dermal contour or possibility of spread of infection or malignant cells ( Fig. 20-3 ).
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