Intercostal Nerve Block
The intercostal nerves are located under the ribs and provide sensation to the back and chest area. An intercostal nerve block procedure is performed as a diagnostic procedure or to treat pain from shingles, rib fractures or a past surgical incision in the thorax area.
With an intercostal nerve block, a local anesthetic and steroid medication is typically injected into the region just beneath one or more ribs. Patients may experience significant pain relief immediately after the injection and relief may be short-lived or long-lasting.
Depending upon the degree and duration of pain relief that you receive, your doctor may recommend that you have more than one injection during your intercostal nerve block procedure and the block may be repeated to manage a chronic condition.
Although uncommon, risks of an intercostal nerve block procedure include infection, bleeding and nerve damage. There is also a possibility of making a puncture into the lung cavity which could cause a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). This would need to be treated in the emergency room.
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