Selective Nerve Root Blocks (SNRBs) are a type of medical procedure used to diagnose and treat pain originating from a specific nerve root in the spine. The procedure involves injecting a local anaesthetic and sometimes a corticosteroid medication near the affected nerve root. Here is a step-by-step overview of the SNRB procedure:
- Preparation - The patient lies face down on an X-ray table, and the skin over the targeted area is cleaned and sterilised.
- Numbing the skin - A local anaesthetic is administered to numb the skin and underlying tissues at the injection site. This helps minimise discomfort during the procedure.
- Fluoroscopy guidance - Fluoroscopy, a real-time X-ray imaging technique, is used to guide the needle placement. The physician uses a fluoroscopy to visualise the spinal structures and confirm the correct location for the injection.
- Needle placement - A thin needle is inserted through the skin and advanced toward the targeted nerve root. The physician carefully guides the needle using the fluoroscope to ensure accurate placement.
- Contrast injection - A contrast dye is injected through the needle. This dye helps confirm that the medication will reach the desired area and allows the physician to visualise the nerve root and nearby structures more clearly.
- Medication injection - Once the needle is in the correct position, a mixture of local anaesthetic (such as lidocaine) and a corticosteroid (such as methylprednisolone) is injected near the affected nerve root. The local anaesthetic provides immediate pain relief, while the corticosteroid reduces inflammation and provides longer-term relief.
- Monitoring - After the injection, the patient may be monitored for a short period to ensure there are no adverse reactions or complications.
Selective Nerve Root Blocks are commonly used to diagnose the source of back or leg pain and can also provide therapeutic benefits by reducing inflammation and relieving pain in the affected nerve root. They are often recommended when conservative treatments like physical therapy, medication, or rest have been ineffective.
It is crucial to keep in mind that SNRBs can be effective for many individuals. However, the response to the procedure can vary. Some patients experience significant pain relief, while others may not experience as much benefit. Potential risks and complications include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, allergic reactions, or inadvertent injection into a blood vessel or spinal fluid. Dr. Rajesh Malhotra holds sound expertise in selective nerve root blocks treatment. He has helped many patients to get rid of such issues.