Complications of fluoroscopically directed facet joint nerve blocks: a prospective evaluation of 7,500 episodes with 43,000 nerve blocks
Pain Physician, 03/29/2012Manchikanti L et al.
This study illustrate that major complications are extremely rare and minor side effects are common.
This study was carried out over a period of 20 months and included over 7,500 episodes or 43,000 facet joint nerve blocks.
All of the interventions were performed under fluoroscopic guidance in an ambulatory surgery center by one of 3 physicians.
The complications encountered during the procedure and postoperatively were prospectively evaluated.
There were no major complications.
Multiple side effects and complications observed included overall intravascular penetration in 11.4% of episodes with 20% in cervical region, 4% in lumbar region, and 6% in thoracic region; local bleeding in 76.3% of episodes with highest in thoracic region and lowest in cervical region; oozing with 19.6% encounters with highest in cervical region and lowest in lumbar region; with local hematoma seen only in 1.2% of the patients with profuse bleeding, bruising, soreness, nerve root irritation, and all other effects such as vasovagal reactions observed in 1% or less of the episodes.
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