The intercostal nerves are spread elongated from the first 11 thoracic spinal nerves running along the ribs. Several ailments such as herpes zoster or shingles cause severe pain in the intercostal nerves, the intercostal nerve blocks are given to treat such problems also the intercostal nerve blocks help to diagnose pain in the abdomen. An intercostal nerve block is combined with local anesthetic and steroid which is then injected into the intercostal nerves located at the side of the ribs. The steroid serves as an anti inflammatory and reduces irritation and swelling around the intercostal nerves. However, the injections take a couple of hours to reduce inflammation. The injections are guided by an X-Ray machine to help physician correctly place the injections
What happens before the procedure?
At the Pain Management Institute, Dr Zaki Anwar, MD will ask you to stop taking any blood thinning medications prior to your intercostal nerve block procedure. You will be advised by proper note when to stop taking medications at the time that your admission date is arranged. You can take your regular medications with a glass of water on the morning of your procedure. If you regularly take insulin and is diabetic, you will always be given first priority. Don’t forget to bring your insulin with you it will be given soon after the procedure. The Pain Management Institute staff will inform you of your fasting and procedure time. You must not eat, drink, smoke or chew before the procedure. You might not be able to drive home 24 hours after the procedure
What will Happen during the procedure?
On the day of your procedure you will be asked to change into a gown. Dr. Zaki Anwar, MD will talk to you about your medical history and start a light IV sedation, you will asked to lie on your abdomen with a pillow placed under your hips and abdomen for support. The X-ray machine will be used to guide the needle in the correct place for your procedure. The injection contains steroids and local anesthetic. The actual procedure takes only 5 minutes to complete. However, following the procedure you will be kept under observation for one hour. After having something to eat and drink you can go home with a career support
Light activity and rest are recommended in the initial 24 hours soon after the procedure. You may then return to your routinely activities. The local anesthesia will effects will fade with 12 to 18 hours after your procedure. During this phase there might be increased pain and discomfort. Immediately consult with your doctor if you feel any chest pain or breathing problems following the procedure