An ultrasound-guided subparaneural approach to the sciatic nerve in the dog: a cadaver study

Published:October 21, 2020DOI:



      To describe the gross and microscopic anatomy of the sciatic nerve paraneural sheath and to report an ultrasound (US)-guided subparaneural approach to the sciatic nerve in dogs, comparing two different volumes of injectate.

      Study design

      Prospective, randomized, anatomical study.


      A group of nine middle-sized adult Mongrel canine cadavers (18 limbs).


      The sciatic nerves of three pelvic limbs of two canine cadavers were identified, exposed and isolated between the greater trochanter and the popliteal fossa for gross anatomical and microscopic examination. An additional three pelvic limbs were surgically dissected on the lateral surface of the limb; the sciatic nerves were isolated, and a 26 gauge over-the-needle catheter was inserted through the paraneural sheath under direct visualization. A methylene blue solution was then slowly injected into the subparaneural compartment through the catheter under US visualization using an 8–13 MHz linear-array transducer. Subsequently, 12 pelvic limbs (six cadavers) were randomly allocated to one of two groups; using US-guided percutaneous subparaneural approach, either 0.1 or 0.05 mL kg–1of a 1:1 solution of methylene blue and 0.5% bupivacaine was injected. The spread of the dye solution and the amount of nerve staining were macroscopically scored. The stained sciatic nerves with their sheaths were then harvested for microscopic examination.


      The paraneural sciatic nerve sheath was easily identified distinct from the nerve trunk both macroscopically and with US visualization, and microscopically. Complete staining was achieved in five of six (83.3%) sciatic nerves in each group; no difference was found in the amount of staining between the two groups. Microscopically, no signs of sciatic nerve intraneural injection were observed.

      Conclusions and clinical relevance

      The US-guided subparaneural injection of 0.05 mL kg–1 of a dye injectate resulted in satisfactory nerve staining without evidence of sciatic nerve intraneural injection.


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