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Sympathetic Nerve Block, Ambulatory Care

What do I need to know about sympathetic nerve blocks?

Sympathetic nerve blocks are injections of anesthesia medicine around peripheral nerves near your spine. Peripheral nerves send signals, such as pain, to areas of the body. You may need a sympathetic nerve block to locate an area of pain or relieve nerve pain. You may also need a sympathetic nerve block to help your healthcare provider guide your treatment. You may need a series of injections if your pain or condition improves after the first one. If you have a clotting disorder, you may not be able to receive a nerve block.

What should I expect to happen?

Your healthcare provider will ask you to rate your symptoms before the procedure. You will remain awake and alert during the procedure so that you can answer questions. Your healthcare provider will find the area of the nerve group to be treated. He may use fluoroscopy (an x-ray that produces real time images), CT scans, or an ultrasound. Next, your healthcare provider will inject the anesthesia into the nerve group area. He will again ask you to rate your symptoms. He will also ask you to keep a record of your symptoms and activities. He will also ask you to write down when your symptoms return.

What are the risks of sympathetic nerve blocks?

You may have an allergic reaction, numbness, weakness, or difficulty walking. Your blood pressure may get too high or too low. You may have anxiety, dizziness, or seizures if the anesthesia gets into your blood vessels. You may have bleeding, or a blood clot may form if the needle goes into a blood vessel. The needle may also go into other parts of your body and cause damage. If the needle goes into a nerve, you may feel burning, tingling, prickling, or severe pain.

Care Agreement

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. 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.

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