Occasionally, after a lumbar puncture or other spinal procedures, patients can develop a headache. While this headache often resolves with conservative measures, a blood patch can be performed to help relieve the headache for certain patients.
Blood Patch Procedure
A blood patch is a minimally invasive procedure performed under local anesthesia or occasionally moderate sedation. You will lie face down on the procedure table, and using live X-ray imaging, your doctor will insert a needle through the skin and into the epidural space of the lower back. Then, some of your blood is drawn from an IV in your arm, and this blood is injected into the epidural space. The procedure typically takes 15-30 minutes, however this varies based on multiple factors.
What are the Steps taken for Post-Procedure Care?
Following the procedure, you will be discharged on the same day if you are having this performed as an outpatient. Patients can slowly resume normal activities as tolerated the day after the procedure.
What are the Associated Risks and Complications?
Blood patches are generally safe. Risks of the procedure may include bleeding, infection, or incomplete relief of headache. Additional risks of the procedure will be discussed by the performing radiologist and nursing staff prior to the procedure.