Epidural Blood Patch

Spinal Headache Specialist in Tampa, FL

What is an Epidural Blood Patch?

This is an outpatient procedure, where blood (your own) is delivered into the epidural space of the spine, which is the area between the protective covering (dura) of the spinal cord and the bony vertebrae. Epidural space is an area that is filled with fat and small blood vessels.

Who is a candidate?

Dr. Kalava currently offers epidural blood patch for patients who have a “spinal headache” (post-dural puncture headache) that is a direct result of:

  • Spinal puncture for diagnosis or for a surgical procedure (C-Section)
  • Labor epidural for child birth
  • Epidural performed for low back pain
  • Recent myelogram/radiological test
  • Idiopathic spontaneous intracranial hypotension

What is a “spinal headache”?

Also called “post-dural puncture headache”, a spinal headache is moderate to severe headache pain due to a spinal fluid leak. Headache is typically worse with standing and less when lying down flat. Nausea, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and double vision can accompany the headache. Oftentimes, conservative therapy with analgesics (pain killers), hydration/IV fluids, and rest can resolve this type of headache. Individuals who do not feel relief from conservative therapies are candidates for an epidural blood patch.

What are the results?

Most patients experience immediate headache pain relief benefits from epidural blood patch and do not require any further treatments.  Sometimes a repeat injection is required to achieve full benefit.  The benefits of this epidural blood patch procedure tend to be permanent.

What are the risks?

With few risks, epidural blood patch is considered an appropriate nonsurgical treatment for some patients. The potential risks associated with inserting the needle include spinal headache from a dural puncture, bleeding, infection, allergic reaction, and in rare cases, nerve damage or paralysis.

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