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Sympathetic Nerve Blocks - Lumbar Blocks

Lumbar Sympathetic Block

Reasons for the procedure:

You may receive a lumbar sympathetic block if you are experiencing pain in your legs, or poor circulation your legs.  It may determine if your problem is related to the sympathetic nervous system.

Before the procedure:    

You will be informed where and when to report for the procedure.  You may be asked not to eat or drink after midnight the night before.  You will be examined by your doctor and asked to rate your pain.

Description of the procedure:

Your consent will be obtained, and an intravenous (IV) catheter will be placed in your arm.  Thermometers will be placed on the affected leg to measure temperature changes. You will lie on your stomach or side for the procedure.  The skin on your back will be cleaned with antiseptic and numbed with medication.  Under x-ray guidance, a needle will be inserted through the skin of your lower back to an area near the spine, and local anesthetic (numbing medication) will be injected around the sympathetic nerves.

After the procedure:

You will be asked to rate your pain.  You will go to the recovery room to be monitored.  You IV will be discontinued, and you will be discharged home.

Potential Complications:

  • Muscular pain in your back
  • Bleeding
  • Temporary weakness or numbness in your legs
  • Bloody urine
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage            

Follow-up:

You will be given a pain diary to help you keep track of your pain.  You will receive further instructions from your doctor.

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