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Selective Nerve Root Block

Selective nerve root block (SNRB) is an injection of steroid and local anesthetic (numbing medication) around a spinal nerve root.

What is Selective Nerve Root Block?

Selective nerve root block (SNRB) is an injection of steroid and local anesthetic (numbing medication) around a spinal nerve root.  The injection is used to determine the location of a specific nerve root that is the suspected cause of your pain. This procedure may also be used to treat arm and leg pain related to a herniated disc.

How is the procedure done?

You will be lying on an X-ray table on your stomach.  The location of the targeted nerve root is identified and marked using fluoroscopy (X-ray) guidance.  The injection site is cleansed and the skin is numbed.  Your physician will insert and advance a specific needle to the targeted nerve root under fluoroscopy.  A nerve stimulator is also used to make sure the medication is injected around the nerve root.  You will be asked to let the physician know when you feel a buzzing, tingling or pressure sensation in your arm or leg.  When the needle is in the correct position, steroid is injected followed by a small amount of numbing medication.  This procedure takes approximately 15 minutes.

How long does pain relief last?

Pain relief may last weeks, months or years.

What are the side effects and complications?

Side effects and complications are uncommon.  Potential complications include:

  • Allergic reaction to medication
  • bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Temporary arm or leg weakness
  • Injection of medication into a blood vessel

How should I prepare myself for this procedure?

  • A driver is required to you give a ride home after the procedure.
  • If you are on any blood thinners, please call the clinic at 701-551-6980 to receive instructions about your medication.

When should I call my doctor?

You should call us immediately if any of the following occur:

  • If you experience any swelling, redness, or drainage from the site of the injection
  • If you have a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • If you experience a new numbness or weakness in your arms or legs
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