What is an epidural blood patch and how is it performed?
An epidural blood patch is a relatively simple procedure in which blood drawn from an intravenous line in your arm is injected into the epidural space in your spine. This procedure is commonly done to treat spinal headache, usually resulting from of a loss of CSF following a lumbar puncture or myelogram. This type of headache is positional in nature, usually worsened by sitting or standing and relieved by lying down. Placement of the blood forms a barrier within the epidural space to seal off the leak.
The injection is done with the patient lying on his or her abdomen. Fluoroscopy (live x-ray) is used to aid the radiologist in guiding the needle directly into the epidural space. Once the needle has reached the epidural space, a small amount of contrast dye is injected into the area to ensure proper needle placement and the blood is then injected.
Following the procedure, the patient is expected to lay flat for approximately an hour then discharged home to rest.
Once scheduled for the procedure, you will be contacted by one of the spine nurses. You will be asked to provide information regarding you current problem, past medical history, and medications. She will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for the upcoming procedure. Any insurance questions can be answered by your referring physician. After the procedure you will need someone to drive you home. Patients without a driver will be rescheduled for another day.