Peripheral Nerve Blocks: A Color Atlas, 3rd Edition

52.Ilioinguinal/Iliohypogastric Block

Giorgio Ivani

Valeria Mossetti

Patient Position: The patient lies supine.

Indications: The simultaneous block of these two nerves provides anesthesia for surgery on the inguinal region: hernia repair, orchidopexy, hydrocele.

Needle Size: A short beveled needle (e.g., a caudal needle).

Volume: 0.2 to 0.3 ml/kg of ropivacaine 0.2% for children up to 7 years, levobupivacaine 0.5% for older children.

Anatomic Landmarks: Anterior superior iliac spine and the umbilicus (Fig. 52-1).

Approach and Technique: The line uniting the anterior superior iliac spine to the umbilicus is divided in four equal parts. A short beveled needle is then introduced vertically at the union of the most lateral part to the medial three-quarters of the line. The needle is introduced perpendicular to the skin until there is a loss of resistance, corresponding to the piercing of the superficial layer of the external oblique muscle.

Recently, Willschke, Marhofer, and Bosenberg demonstrated with the use of the ultrasound technique that the landmark is more lateral compared to the previous point of injection: less than 1 cm medial to the anterior superior iliac spine and in a double blind study they succeeded in reducing the amount of administered drug in the ultrasound group—only 1 to 2 mL—with an increase in duration of analgesia.


1.   The iliohypogastric and ilioinguinal nerves are terminal branches of the lumbar plexus that supply the inguinal and pubic area.

2.   This block represents a valid alternative to the caudal block for surgery on the inguinal area with less morbidity.

3.   Undesired femoral nerve block can occasionally (1 out of 9) occur due to the spread of the local anesthetic to the inguinal ligament.


Figure 52-1. Anterior superior iliac spine and the umbilicus.

Suggested Readings

Dalens B. Bloc ilioinguinal et iliohypogastrique chez l'enfant. In: Dartayet B, ed. MAPAR. Paris, 1997:235.

Hannallah RS, Broadman LM, Belman AB, et al. Comparison of caudal and ilioinguinal/iliohypogastric nerve block for control of post-orchidopexy pain in paediatric ambulatory surgery. Anaesthesiology 1987;66:832.

Willschke H, Bosenberg A, Marhofer P, et al. Ultrasonographic-guided ilioinguinal/iliohypogastric nerve block in pediatric anesthesia: what is the optimal volume? Anesth Analg 2006;102(6): 1680–1684.

Willschke H, Marhofer P, Bosenberg A, et al. Ultrasonography for ilioinguinal/iliohypogastric nerve blocks in children. Br J Anaesth 2005;95(2):226–230.