What is Epidural Blood Patch?
It is a type of procedure where blood sample of the affected person is taken and the same is injected back to the epidural space. The method is very effective for the treatment of patients who are suffering from spinal headaches. You can also refer spinal headaches as chronic post-dural puncture headaches. Usually, the chronic post-dural puncture headaches occurs when an individual receives lumbar punctures in order to treat some medical conditions.
The epidural space is nothing but a sac like space that enclose the spinal cord, which basially contains the cerebrospinal fluid. Again, this is the fluid, which goes around the spine to the brain, and if it gets leaked due to a lumbar puncture, then it leads to decrease the level of pressure in the brain. The optimal level of pressure in your brain is restoed by an epidural blood patch, which in turn seal those leakages.
Why Epidural Blood Patch is Done?
In a number of cases, such as migraine, the headaches become intolerable and people seek medical advices the persistent headache maybe due to many reasons, so physicians try to diagnose it through image testing and other clinical tests.
Even during certain medical treatment, patients might receive injection in the spinal columns such as during labor, a diagnostic spinal tap, a therapeutic spinal injection. This might lead to small to severe headaches, which can turn debilitating at times.
Time Taken to Perform Epidural Blood Patch
The injection will just take a few minutes to get injected in your body. What you need to look into carefully is the procedure for which you need to wait for an hour and half for the whole procedure. These phases also include the time you take to talk to your doctor before you begin the procedure.
Type of Medicine Injected
Local anesthetic is used to numb the skin and other type of sedative, which a patient might need. Just a small amount of local anesthetic is injected through a small needle, giving you a pinching sensation and after the skin become number; the needle feels like a bit of pressure at the site. You can also opt for sedation or intake by mouth before the procedure begins.
You can choose to do the entire procedure under local anesthesia or go for an IV sedation that will let you stay comfortable. Well, sometimes it might result in drowsiness or you may have little or no memory of the procedure depending on your comfort level.
Epidural Blood Patch – How Is It Performed?
You will lie on your stomach and the blood pressure and the oxygen level will be under constant monitoring. The skin on your back gets cleaned with an antiseptic solution and. Then a small intravenous catheter is placed in the vein. Then your doctor is going to place the epidural needle near the affected area and he will draw about 20-25 cc of blood from your vein and will gradually inject the blood.
Treatment Affect after Injection
Immediately just after the injection you are going to feel the pressure in your back. it is due to the effect of the blood in the epidural space. The method of treatment is invasive and it generally takes around 30 minutes in order to complete. After which you can stand up and in some cases it is seen that the patients experience significant relief immediately. After few hours, we will find that body got a chance to replenish the lost spinal fluid and the headache ceases.
Tips to Follow, After the Injection
- One should take rest for the first day
- You do not have to lie completely and bathroom visits are possible
- You should not go back to the work on the same day
- You might face some temporary side effects due to injection
Who Must Not Have This Treatment?
- If you are allergic to any medications injected
- If you are already on a blood-thinning medication such as Coumadin, heparin
- If you have an active infection