What is it?
An epidural blood patch is a procedure that is performed when a spinal fluid leak is present and causing significant symptoms. The symptoms are typically a headache and nausea with possible neurological changes. A small amount of your own blood is withdrawn through an IV and then injected into the epidural space at the site of the leak.
What are the expected results?
The blood clotting factors compress or seal the hole to stop the leak. Many patients have rapid relief of their symptoms, but it may take a few days for the symptoms to completely resolve. You may be sore at the injection site for a day or so.
How long will it take?
The procedure itself only takes 5-10 minutes to perform. You will be observed for 20-60 minutes after the procedure.
What happens after the procedure:
Most often you can go home in about 30-60 minutes. Written instructions will be sent home with you. You will need someone to drive you home and care for you for the first 24 hours after the procedure, as bed rest is recommended during this time.
What to expect the day of your procedure?
After you arrive, you will be asked to sign in and complete any paperwork as needed. You will then be taken to the Pre-Op area. At this time, an assistant will ask you some questions and have you sign your consent forms. It is imperative that you, the patient, inform the assistant of any changes in your history and/or physical, such as recent flu or any health problems that might affect your procedure. Inform the staff of any allergies, especially to Betadine or Iodine.
You may be asked to change into a gown. An assistant will take your vital signs and an IV will be started.
The physician will talk to you before your procedure. You will then be positioned and the injection site will be cleaned. Your physician will perform the procedure. You may be given medication before and/or during your procedure to help you relax. You may doze off during this time. You may also be given an IV antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection. Afterward, the assistant will wash off the cleaning solution and apply the dressings/bandages as needed.
You will be transported to the recovery room area where you will be monitored anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Someone will take your IV out and help you get dressed. Lastly, your caregiver will be given discharge instructions for your care at home.