Lumbar sympathetic block involves the placement of local anesthetic along the lateral column of the lumbar spine. This minimally invasive injection is used to treat sympathetically-mediated pain and symptoms of the lower extremities associated with CRPS, post-herpetic neuralgia, and limb ischemia. In addition to reducing the burning pain associated with these conditions, a lumbar sympathetic block can also reduce sympathetically-mediated symptoms such as swelling, color changes, increased limb sweating, and reduced mobility.
Lumbar sympathetic block is performed under x-ray guidance and involves inserting a needle through skin that is directed toward the lateral lumbar spinal column. Following needle placement, a small amount of contrast dye is injected to ensure proper medication spread. Once proper needle placement is confirmed, a large volume of local anesthetic is administered.
Lumbar sympathetic blocks are normally performed in under 15 minutes. Patients may elect to have IV sedation for this procedure to minimize any risk of discomfort. Patients are able to resume normal activities within 24 hours following the procedure. Depending on the severity of symptoms, patients will commonly undergo a weekly injection over a period of 2-5 weeks to maximize the opportunity for chronic pain reduction.