RESEARCH PAPER| Volume 47, ISSUE 3, P391-395, May 2020

Effect of contrast and local anesthetic on dye spread following transversus abdominis plane injection in dog cadavers

Published:January 30, 2020DOI:



      To determine whether the addition of bupivacaine or contrast medium to methylene blue dye would affect dye distribution following ultrasound (US)-guided transversus abdominis plane (TAP) injections.

      Study design

      Prospective, randomized, blinded cadaveric study.


      A total of 29 fresh Beagle dog cadavers.


      Each hemiabdomen (n = 58) was randomized into one of three groups: group M, 1% methylene blue; group MB, 50:50 mixture of 1% methylene blue and 0.5% bupivacaine; group MC, 25:75 mixture of 1% methylene blue and contrast agent (iohexol). TAP injections (0.5 mL kg–1) were performed bilaterally by a trained individual followed by dissection of the abdominal walls. Craniocaudal and dorsoventral spread along tissue planes was measured. Staining of branches of the thoracic and lumbar spinal nerves was considered successful when dye on the nerve was >10 mm. One-way anova with post hoc Tukey test was used to compare craniocaudal and dorsoventral spread and Kruskal–Wallis test to compare incidence of nerve staining among groups.


      TAP injections were successful in 52 out of 58 hemiabdomens. Dorsoventral spread was greater for group M (60 ± 10 mm) compared with MC (49 ± 9 mm; p = 0.01) but not MB (52 ± 9 mm; p = 0.09). No difference was found in craniocaudal spread or number of nerves stained among groups.

      Conclusion and clinical relevance

      The significant difference found in spread of tissue staining between methylene blue alone and methylene blue mixed with contrast in the TAP blocks should be kept in mind when interpreting dye-based cadaveric regional anesthesia studies.


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