Intercostal Nerve Block

What is an Intercostal Nerve Block?
     An Intercostal Nerve Block is the injection of a local anesthetic in the area between two ribs.  There is a nerve running under the rib which can sense severe pain if irritated. By numbing this nerve, blocking it, there can be instant pain relief.

Why is an Intercostal Nerve Block performed?
     An Intercostal Nerve Block may be performed for pain due to herpes zoster (shingles) or pain from a surgical incision in the chest area. This is also done for diagnostic purposes.

Is there any preparation for the procedure?
     Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before your appointment. Please be sure to ask our office about discontinuing any blood thinners before this procedure. An IV will be placed in your arm prior to the procedure. Please alert us if you have an iodine or seafood allergy. You will need a driver to drop you off and pick you up for this procedure.

What happens during the procedure?
     You may be sitting or lying down for the procedure. The area to be injected will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution. The doctor will place the needle into the intercostal space and inject the local anesthetic.

How long does the procedure take?
     About 15 minutes

What are the contraindications for the procedure?
     You may experience bleeding problems or an infection at the site of injection.

Is there special care afterward?
     You will be observed for short time after the procedure. You will be given directions on when to come in after the procedure; generally about two weeks after a procedure you will be seen for a follow up appointment to decide further pain treatment.

REMEMBER: You are NOT permitted to drive after your procedure.  You MUST have someone to drive you home or the procedure will be not be done.