The spine is a delicate system, but incredibly resilient in its design. Surrounding the spinal cord is a “sack” that contains the clear fluid that is your cerebrospinal fluid. Between this sack and the spine itself is an area known as the ‘epidural space’ and is the eponymous space where epidurals are administered during labor. Under certain circumstances a leak will develop in the sack, leading to a persistent influx of cerebrospinal fluid into it, a condition which can result in severely painful and sometimes debilitating headaches. Khavkin Clinic has been providing these services for their patients for years, with Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin serving as your pain management doctor in Las Vegas, NV.
Epidural Blood Patches: Using The Body To Heal The Body
In these instances, your doctor may call you in for an epidural blood patch. Epidural blood patches are a way of sealing the leak using an injection of your own blood into the epidural space, essentially creating a patch. The administering of this patch and the cessation of the leak eliminates a headache and allows you to go back to your daily life.
Patches may be necessary in cases of:
- An Epidural During Labor
- Therapeutic Spinal Injections (Including Steroids, Antibiotics, Etc)
- Diagnostic Spinal Taps
- Trauma, such as that from a car accident.
How Long Does An Epidural Blood Patch Take To Perform?
The blood patch itself is a very brief procedure, taking only a few minutes to perform. However, most of the appointments take up to an hour and a half to give your doctor time to consult with you, sign the necessary forms, and a period of observation following the injection. Thanks to a local anesthetic administered before the injection, the procedure is practically painless, with patients typically experiencing only the slightly burny pinch associated with an injection. For those who have a clinical fear of needles or anxiety sedatives may be administered, speak to your physician if you feel this will aid you in the procedure.
What Comes After The Procedure?
Following the injection, you may experience a strange-feeling pressure in your back due to the extra pressure of the blood in your epidural space. 30 minutes after the injection is done the practitioner or their nurse will have you stand up to see how your recovery is going. Typically this is the moment when the patients experience significant relief from a headache caused by the leaking of the cerebrospinal fluid. Several hours later your body will have had sufficient time to replenish that fluid and your headache should continue to fade.
Are There Any Risks I Should Know About?
The procedure is largely free of risk and is a relatively routine procedure. All medical procedures do come with some measured amount of risk, however. In the event that side-effects occur, they typically include a brief spike in pain from the injection, bleeding, nerve damage, failure to relieve your headache, or even an additional puncture of your sack leading to continued pain. All of these instances are exceptionally rare. If you have any further questions about an epidural blood patch, contact Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin for a consultation at the Khavkin Clinic today.