Other Peripheral Nerve Block

Peripheral nerve blocks (PNB) prevent or relieve pain by interrupting pain signals that travel along a nerve to the brain. They are commonly used for surgical anesthesia as well as for both postoperative and nonsurgical analgesia. They can also be used to help reduce a patient’s dependency on opioids.

What to expect

During the procedure, our doctor will inject a local anesthetic with a steroid close to the injured nerve to decrease the conduction of pain signals along the nerve. In cases of specific sensory nerves, cold or heat can be utilized to provide a longer term nerve block for up to six to nine months. Neurolytic substances such as phenol or alcohol can be used in cases of terminal illness to provide long term and compassionate pain relief in cancer patients. Radiofrequency ablation can also be used to provide long term pain relief for noncancer pain.

After the procedure

After the procedure, ice can be applied to the injection site for up to 20 minutes three times a day to minimize local inflammation from the injection. Complications from a peripheral nerve block are rare but can include bruising, soreness at the injection site, bleeding, rash or nerve injury.

Treatment effectiveness

Most patients will reap the benefits of a peripheral nerve block by lessening nausea following surgery, providing better pain relief after surgery and reducing the amount of general anesthesia needed during surgery. In chronic pain patients this procedure can help temporarily control the pain as they plan for radiofrequency ablation to prolong the pain relief for months to years.