Annapolis Radiology Associates
2002 Medical Parkway
Suite 235
Annapolis, MD 21401


Lumbar Nerve Root Block

What is it?
A nerve root block is an injection performed near an inflamed nerve to reduce the inflammation and relieve pain.

How is it done?
A local skin anesthetic is given.   The physician then locates, under fluoroscopy, a specific spinal nerve root.   A needle is introduced through the skin into the area adjacent to the nerve root.  An anesthetic and steroid are then injected into the area bathing the nerve root. 

Expected Results:
Relief of pain if the medication reaches the inflamed area or source of pain.    

How long does it take?
The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes plus approximately 30 minutes of recovery time.

Fluoroscopy - X-ray imaging of a part of the body that is displayed on a screen or monitor in the x-ray suite. This facilitates and assures proper placement of the needle and medication.

Preparing for your procedure:
Please complete the pre-procedure pain diagram form and bring this form with you the day of your procedure.  Include a list of any and all medications you are currently taking.

If you have had an MRI, CT scan or other films, please bring copies with you.  Without films, the physician will NOT perform the procedure.

You must have a driver accompany you on the day of your procedure.  You may receive light IV sedation for the procedure.  If a driver is unavailable, the procedure will be canceled per hospital policy.   We must be able to contact your driver before, during and after your procedure either by phone or pager (pagers are available at the Short Stay Unit front desk…please ask).

Plan to be at the hospital up to 2 hours.  Please do not bring young children with you.

The day of your procedure:
On the day of your procedure, report directly to the Short Stay Unit on the second floor of the Acute Care Pavilion at least one hour prior to your scheduled appointment time for registration. Please bring your insurance information with you. 

Wear loose comfortable clothing; please do not wear dresses or skirts. 

Please do not eat or drink for at least 4 hours prior to the procedure.  A snack will be provided after the procedure.

You may take pain medicine up to 2 hours prior to the exam time with a sip of water.  If you receive pain medication by a skin patch, you must call the nurses at 443-481-1385 for further instructions.  You may bring your pain medication with you to take after the procedure.

If you are DIABETIC:
You may eat breakfast and take your morning dose of medication up to 6:00 am.  Do not eat or drink for 2 hours prior to the procedure time. (i.e. if your exam time is 1:00 pm, you can eat a light snack up until 11:00 am).

Please take all of your routinely prescribed medications the day of the procedure including blood pressure, heart, thyroid pills, etc. 

NOTE: If you take BLOOD THINNERS OR ANTIPLATLET medications (examples: Coumadin, Heparin. Plavix or Lovenox) please contact the prescribing physician to discuss your risk of stopping these medications for your test/procedure.  We REQUIRE that Coumadin is stopped for 5 days prior to your test/procedure, and that Plavix is stopped for 7 days prior to your test/procedure.   Please call 443-481-1385 for further instructions or if you have questions about your medications. YOUR PROCEDURE WILL BE CANCELED IF THESE MEDICATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN STOPPED. 

You must be healthy the day of the exam.  You cannot have a fever, infection, sore throat or cough. Please call 443-481-1385 Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm; leave a message and one of the nurses will call you back to discuss your possible illness.

There you will be seen by Dr. Thompson, Dr. Eckel, Dr. Dagher, or Dr. Clark before the procedure to discuss your condition, x-rays, and purpose of the injection.

After the procedure:
You will be given written discharge instructions before you leave and the procedure performed will be explained to you and your driver.  The films that you brought with you will be returned upon your discharge.

Your referring physician will receive a dictated report from Dr. Thompson, Dr. Eckel, Dr. Dagher or Dr. Clark 8 to 10 days following your visit.

If you are in physical therapy, check with your referring physician before resuming treatment.  Dr. Thompson, Dr. Eckel, Dr. Dagher and Dr. Clark recommend delaying physical therapy 48 to 72 hours post procedure.

If you have any questions regarding your procedure, please call the nurses at 443-481-1385.