A lumbar sympathetic block is the injection of a small amount of local anesthetic around the sympathetic nerves in your lower back.
How do I prepare for the procedure?
- You MUST have someone with you to drive home.
- You may have clear liquids after midnight until 2 hours before your appointment and then nothing to eat or drink. Clear liquids include Jell-O, broth, 7-Up, tea, coffee and apple juice. No milk or milk products. You may take all your normal medications, including pain medication with a sip of water.
- If you are diabetic or have a bleeding disorder or take medications such as Coumadin, Lovenox, or Plavix that affect your bleeding, please call us at 570-271-6621.
- Bring a list of your medications including dose and how often you take them.
- Please bring with you any x-rays or MRI films and reports not done at Geisinger Medical Center.
- You should plan on being here 2 to 4 hours.
- Your exam and/or treatment will be done in the interventional Pain Center at Geisinger - Woodbine.
What happens during the procedure?
- You will be placed on your stomach.
- The area to be injected will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
- The area to be injected will be numbed with a local anesthetic.
- A fluoroscopy machine (a special x-ray technique) will be used to place the needles in the proper location.
- A small amount of local anesthetic will then be injected. Your legs may feel warm.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
What complications might occur?
- Infection at injection site
What happens after the procedure?
You will be taken to our recovery area where your blood pressure and pulse will be monitored for 15-20 min. You will be offered liquids. Discharge instructions will be reviewed and you will receive a copy of them when your check out.
- No strenuous activity for 24 hours after the injection.
- Do Not drive or operate machinery until the next day.
- Take your usual pain medications or prescriptions as written.
- You may eat your normal diet.
- For the first 24-48 hours after the procedure, when you go from a lying to a sitting position or a sitting to a standing position, do it slowly. You may feel some lightheadedness or dizziness. This is just temporary until your body adjusts to the increased blood flow to your legs.
Temporary side effects
- Numbness and tingling in extremities
- Increased blood sugar in diabetic patients
- Muscle soreness at injection site
- You may feel warmth, have redness, or the veins in your legs may appear larger than normal. This is a normal reaction, which shows that the therapy was effective.
Warnings: Call Pain Medicine, 570-271-6621
- Fever greater then 101 degrees
- Redness, swelling or pus-like drainage at injection site
- Severe headache
Return your follow-up questionnaire in the envelope provided in 7-10 days.
Your return appointment will be scheduled when you check out.
If you have any problems or concerns, please call us at 570-271-6621 Monday through Friday 7:30 to 4:30. If it is after hours, call 570-271-6211 and ask for the Chronic Pain physician on call