What is an epidural blood patch?
This is an injection of your own blood into your epidural. The epidural space into which the injection takes place is not your spinal cord but rather right outside of the sack of fluid which contains your spinal nerves.
Who needs this procedure?
In some cases patients who have injections and other spinal column may require this procedure. A spinal tap, spinal injection, or the epidural received during labor are conditions under which this procedure is done. There are some cases where patients have a severe headache after these procedures which is typically a sign of a leak of your spinal fluid into this epidural space. The headache itself is not harmful to you but it can be very debilitating and if you experience this headache you can come to a clinic and get the blood patch. This blood patch will inject freshly drawn blood into the space to plug this week. This causes the pain to go away. In some cases this type of procedure is necessary after trauma like a motor vehicle accident.
How long does the procedure take?
The actual injection of your blood takes a few minutes at the Los Angeles pain clinic. But you should allow approximately one and a half hours for the entire procedure to include the time it takes to sign any documents, position yourself in the room, and be observed by a nurse after the procedure.
What medications are used?
The area which is to be injected will receive a local anesthetic so that your skin is numbed. If you require additional sedatives they can be provided by a pain management doctor in Los Angeles.
Is the procedure painful?
You will feel a small injection of local anesthetic using a small needle. This feels like a slight pinch after which you feel a slight burning sensation. But following this the skin will be numb and you will not feel more than a slight pressure at the injection site. If you want to have IV sedation or oral sedation these are both possible.
How is this process completed?
This process is typically completed with the patient lying on her stomach. Their oxygen and blood pressure will be monitored. The skin at the site of the injection will be cleaned using antiseptic solution. A small catheter will be placed into a vein and your pain management specialist in Los Angeles will place the epidural needle into the affected area after they have drawn blood from your vein.
What can I expect after this procedure?
Immediately after the procedure you might feel slight pressure in your back. This pressure is caused by the new dose of blood in the area. After the initial injection you should rest for 30 minutes. You should be able to stand after 30 minutes. Many patients at the clinic experience relief immediately and after a few hours your body will be able to replenish any of the lost spinal fluid and your headache should get better. After the procedure it is advised that you take one or two days to relax and recover before you go back to work. Unless there are complications you can return to work after one day.