Lumbar Sympathetic Block Procedure

Lumbar Sympathetic Block Procedure

A lumbar sympathetic block procedure is performed to relieve leg pain caused by complex regional pain syndromes, chronic neuropathic pain, peripheral neuropathy, and chronic lower extremity pain which may develop after an injury to a joint or limb.  Usually a series of injections are needed to treat the problem.

Procedure

Patients lie either on their side or stomach on a table equipped with a special x-ray (fluoroscopic) unit, and an intravenous (IV) line is started to administer medication to relax the patient.  A local anesthetic numbs the skin and tissue down to the sympathetic nerves.  The physician slides a needle through the anesthetized track.  A contrast solution is injected.  The physician uses a fluoroscope to identify the painful areas and to confirm the correct location of the needle tip.

Next, a mixture of anesthetic, saline and anti-inflammatory medicine is injected around the sympathetic nerves to block pain signals from reaching the brain.  The legs may feel weak or numb for a few hours after the procedure.  Then, pain from the legs should improve.  More blocks may be repeated about once a week until the pain subsides.  Patients who are on blood thinning medication or who have an infection near the injection site should not receive the block.

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Comprehensive Pain Management Center