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Anesthesiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 731645, 11 pages
Review Article

Clinical Implications of the Transversus Abdominis Plane Block in Adults

1Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
2Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA
3Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Received 31 July 2011; Revised 21 September 2011; Accepted 27 September 2011

Academic Editor: D. John Doyle

Copyright © 2012 Mark J. Young et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block is a relatively new regional anesthesia technique that provides analgesia to the parietal peritoneum as well as the skin and muscles of the anterior abdominal wall. It has a high margin of safety and is technically simple to perform, especially under ultrasound guidance. A growing body of evidence supports the use of TAP blocks for a variety of abdominal procedures, yet, widespread adoption of this therapeutic adjunct has been slow. In part, this may be related to the limited sources for anesthesiologists to develop an appreciation for its sound anatomical basis and the versatility of its clinical application. As such, we provide a brief historical perspective on the TAP block, describe relevant anatomy, review current techniques, discuss pharmacologic considerations, and summarize the existing literature regarding its clinical utility with an emphasis on recently published studies that have not been included in other systematic reviews or meta-analyses.