Understanding the Intercostal nerve block
An intercostal nerve block is one of the techniques used to treat pain syndromes, whether acute or chronic, in the area of the chest. Intercostal nerves lie underneath the lower edge of the ribs. For some specific injury, pain along the intercostal nerve, injection of a meager quantity of local anesthetic can potentially subsidize pain.
What conditions are treated with intercostal nerve blocks?
Conditions treated with intercostal nerve block treatments include:
- Post-traumatic pain from rib fracture, shingles or post herpetic neuralgia
- Postoperative pain from chest wall surgeries or procedures
- Chronic non-malignant pain
- Pain from malignancies involving the chest wall
The conditions mentioned above give rise to intercostal nerve compression or inflammation, which produces pain in the chest wall.
How much time does the procedure takes?
The definite injections take a few minutes, however the whole procedure consumes an hour, including several activities such as discussion with your doctor prior to the procedure, making an appropriate position in the room and the post procedure observation and recovery
Will it hurt?
All of the intercostal nerve block procedures by Dr. Zaki Anwer, MD, is initiated by administering a meager quantity of local anesthesia with a very small needle. As reported by the patients: “It feels like a little pinch and then slight burning as the local anesthesia works on numbing the skin.” “Soon after the skin is numb the procedure needle feels like a slight pressure at the injection site.” If you experience even a slight pain while being injected Dr. Zaki Anwer, MD, will inject more local anesthesia to provide you with the best possible levels of comfort
Will I “be asleep” for this procedure?
Dr. Zaki Anwer, MD gives you the freedom to choose, either you can have the procedure done under local anesthesia or you can have an IV sedation, both the approaches will ensure you feel comfortable throughout the procedure. You must not eat or drink anything for 6 hours prior to intercostal nerve block procedure and you must also have someone to drive you home, if you opt for IV sedation
How an Intercostal Nerve Block is done?
Dr. Zaki Anwer, MD carries out the procedure with you lying on your stomach with your arms stretched upwards. He will monitor your blood pressure and oxygen. The skin over the targeted area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution, Dr. Zaki then places a very small, slightly blunt needle beneath the rib and a contrasting pigment is injected the pigment is visible in an X-Ray to make sure the needle has reached the correct place. Then he injects the medicine in the affected area
What should I expect after the injection?
Shortly after the injection, you may notice that your pain may be gone or considerably less. You will be detained in the recovery room for a short period for observation. Very rarely, the intercostal nerve block injections can result in a complication of collapsed lungs