The significance of the threshold amperage of peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) for the efficacy and latency of sciatic block is shown in a controlled randomized study of stimulation amplitude. In all cases the block was complete within a short time when the threshold amperage was 0.3 mA or less. Incomplete motor and sensory blocks occurred with higher stimulation amplitudes of 0.5 and 1.0 mA. In view of these results a prospective study of the clinical efficacy of 852 combined sciatic/3-in-1 blocks using prilocaine, and performed by means of peripheral nerve stimulation was carried out. No CNS or cardiovascular complications, no problems resulting from methaemoglobinaemia and, above all, no nervous lesions were observed. The limiting factor for surgery of the lower limb with this method of anaesthesia is the tolerance of the femoral tourniquet which depends mainly on the efficacy of the 3-in-1 block. Ninety-one per cent of the combined blockades were primarily successful when there was no tourniquet at all, and 87% when the tourniquet was placed on the lower leg. In the course of surgery with a femoral pneumatic tourniquet, only 55% of the blocks did not require supplement when 20 ml of 1% prilocaine was used for the 3-in-1 block, while 72% and 74% were efficacious with 30 ml and 35 ml, respectively. The efficacy of the sciatic block proved to be extremely high (> 95%), its success depending on the dosage of the local anaesthetic and correct execution of the peripheral nerve stimulation.