An intercostal nerve block is a medical procedure followed by injections given with a small amount of local anesthetic in the intercostal nerves to relieve severe pain arising from rib fractures, nerve damage, injuries to the chest wall, postoperative pain along the rib nerves, and shingles
The intercostal nerves are placed under each rib, the pain arises when one of these nerves gets inflamed or irritated. The steroid medications and local anesthetic intercostal nerve blocks can help reduce pain and inflammation
The procedure is done with the patient lying face down with the arms stretched upwards, if convenient. The blood pressure and the oxygen level are constantly observed, the physician will ask questions to make sure if the patient is not feeling any discomfort during the whole procedure. The area to be treated around the ribs is cleaned with an antiseptic solution, a very small, thin and lightly blunt needle is attentively placed under the rib and a different colored substance is injected to the intercostal nerves, the injections are guided by X-ray
The intercostal nerve block injections are a blend, of local anesthetic and steroids, the injections only take a few minutes, however, the whole procedure takes about an hour to complete. The intercostal nerve blocks feels like a little pinching and stinging effect soon after the skin in numbed the feeling fades, the injection needle exerts a little pressure at the site of injection
What to expect after the intercostal nerve block injections?
Soon after the intercostal nerve block the patient will experience a potential reduction in pain, the patient will be kept in observation for a short period. The physician might advise to take rest for a few days, however, the patient can carry with light activities. The intercostal nerve block will provide relief for the period of effectiveness of the local anesthetic
Risks and side effects
The intercostals nerve block exhibit a minimal amount of risks, however, any procedure that involves injection brings some complications that may include pain at the site of injections, a puncture in the sack containing CSF because of mishandling that may result in headaches, infection, excessive bleeding, nerve rupture or sometimes no reduction in pain. In very rare cases there might be a complication of collapsed lungs. If you experience difficulty in breathing soon after the procedure of the intercostal nerve block, call your doctor immediately
If you or your loved ones are suffering from rib pain, and looking for potentially safe and affordable treatment, know the benefits of intercostal nerve block by a professional advice from Dr. Zaki Anwar, by placing an appointment at 815-464-7212. He is a world renowned Pain Medicine Physician who has been practicing regenerative injection therapies for the past several years with remarkable results.