A nerve root block is the injection of a local anesthetic and a steroid medication around a nerve root.
Why is a nerve block preformed?
The nerve root block is used to diagnosis the cause of your pain and to treat your pain. The results can help a surgeon to determine where to perform the surgery.
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 the 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.
What happens during the procedure?
- You may be positioned 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.
- The doctor will use fluoroscopy (a special x-ray technique) to guide placement of the needle to the area of the involved nerve. You may feel a small "electric shock" sensation when the needle reaches the proper position.
- When the needle is in the proper position a small amount of local anesthetic and steroid will be injected around the nerve root.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure takes 20-30 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.
Temporary side effects
- Numbness and tingling in extremities
- Increased blood sugar in diabetic patients
- Increased pain the first 48 hours
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.