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Epidural Blood Patch


An epidural blood patch is a procedure used to relieve a headache caused by spinal fluid leak after a dural puncture. A healthcare provider will inject a sample of your own blood into your back, near the dural puncture site. The blood will clot, which may patch the leak. An epidural blood patch may also help reduce other spinal fluid leak symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, hearing or vision trouble, or a stiff neck.


Before the procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • You may be given caffeine to drink or as a medicine through an IV. Caffeine causes your veins to constrict (narrow), which could help improve your symptoms.
  • You may be given medicine to decrease pain and nausea.

During the procedure:

Your healthcare provider will ask you to sit down, lie on your side, or lie on your stomach. He will then locate the area of your spine where he will inject the blood. This will likely be right below your dural puncture site, in between the vertebrae. You may need an x-ray to show the right area to place the epidural blood patch. Your healthcare provider will draw blood from a vein in your arm. He will then slowly inject the blood into the area of your spine near the puncture site. Tell your healthcare provider if you feel back or neck pain, or pain that spreads down your legs. Also tell your healthcare provider if your headache gets worse or you feel pressure.

After the procedure:

  • You may need a spinal CT scan to check the blood patch. You will need to lie still and flat on your back for 2 to 24 hours after your procedure. You may also be directed to elevate your legs. Do not get up to walk until healthcare providers tell you it is okay.
  • Your headache may improve immediately or within a few days. You may have mild back, neck, or leg pain, or a higher temperature for 1 to 2 days after your procedure. Ask your healthcare provider if you may use NSAIDs for pain and fever.


Rarely, you may be at risk for an infection in the injection site. Without treatment, your spinal fluid may continue to leak. This may increase your risk of infection. Your headache may lead to a blood clot near your brain. A severe leak could lead to seizures and may be life-threatening. You may need a second blood patch procedure if a large amount of spinal fluid has leaked. You may need surgery to repair your dural damage.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.