What is a Dorsal Root Ganglion nerve block?

This procedure called a dorsal root ganglion block is where a small amount of local anaesthetic with or without a steroid is injected on to a collection of nerve cells called the dorsal root ganglion which are located either side of the spine. This collection of nerves carry impulses from muscles and other parts of the body to the spinal cord and from there to the brain.
When these nerves become inflamed or pinched they can give rise to pain. The Consultant feels that by performing a dorsal root ganglion block, which has proved to be very effective for some patients, is worth trying to help elevate your pain.

Where is it done?

The procedure is carried out in the Hospital, a letter with directions and instructions will be sent to you.

How is it done?

  • You will be asked to wear a hospital gown
  • You will be asked to lie on your stomach on the X-ray table
  • X-ray pictures are taken throughout the procedure to help the Consultant direct the needle onto the dorsal root ganglion
  • The area to be injected is cleaned with antiseptic
  • The Consultant will numb the area with an injection of local anaesthetic before putting the injection containing the local anaesthetic and steroid drugs on to the dorsal root ganglion
  • You may experience some discomfort during the procedure. However this is a good sign as it helps the Consultant to know he is putting the injection exactly where it is needed
  • Sedation is not normally used for this procedure.

How long will I be in hospital?

Although the procedure itself only takes 10-15 minutes you will be asked to stay for between half to an hour before you are allowed home, to make sure there are no problems.

Can I eat and drink?

You may have a light early breakfast on the day of the admission.

Can I take my usual tablets?

Take your usual medications in the morning and bring your medications with you. (Patients taking Warfarin will be given individual information)

Can I drive home?
For safety reasons you are asked not to drive home on the day of your procedure, and that you have someone to pick you up. You may also need someone with you for the rest of the day if you are feeling unwell.

What can go wrong?

  • You may experience mild discomfort at the site of the injection. This should not last more than 48hrs.
  • In about one third of patients this can last for up to one week
  • Occasionally you can feel sore or ‘bruised’ for the first day or so, until the steroid starts to work
  • Rarely you may experience a numb leg, which lasts only a few hours