A transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block is a form of anesthesia that numbs the front of the abdominal wall. The medication is injected over nerves that lie between 2 layers of abdominal muscles, the internal oblique and the deeper transversus abdominis muscle.
A TAP block is done to numb the upper and lower abdomen. After a TAP block, you should no longer be able to feel the pain associated with abdominal, gynecological, and urological procedures and surgeries.
There are many different options for anesthesia. You and your doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of each one before treatment. Anesthesia from TAP can continue to provide pain relief after the surgery is complete which may decrease the need for opioid medication after surgery. Opioids, while effective for pain relief, can cause uncomfortable side effects like nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
The area will be numbed with a local anesthetic medication. A needle will be inserted in the front of the abdomen just below the ribcage or to the side between the ribs and the pelvis. An ultrasound will be used to help the doctor find the best place to insert the needle. The ultrasound will also let the doctor know when it is in the correct place. Once it is in the right position, the anesthesia medication will be injected and the needle will be removed.
Urigel S, Molter J. Transversus abdominis plane (TAP) blocks. American Association of Nurse Anesthetists website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Published February 2014. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Young M, Gorlin A, et al. Clinical implications of the transversus abdominis plane block in adults. Anesthesiol Res Pract. 2012;2012:731645. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed September 7, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
James P. Cornell, MD Last Last updated: 11/18/2016