What is Caudal Block?
Caudal block is a regional anesthesia that involves the injection of an anesthetic into the caudal end of the spinal canal. Epidural anesthesia has now largely replaced the caudal block.
Effects of Caudal Block
The caudal block is an easy and safe way to provide anesthesia and post-operative analgesia for various surgical procedures. Less general anesthesia is usually needed with a caudal block during an operation. With a caudal block, there will be less pain, plus a quicker recovery and waking time.
Candidates for Caudal Block
Caudal blocks are basically used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The diagnostic blocks are given to attempt and also establish exactly what the structural abnormality is that is causing the symptoms. This is process is also known as finding the \’pain generator\’.
The Caudal Block Procedure
The caudal block procedure usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete and is safely accomplished under fluoroscopic (x-ray) control in order to increase the accuracy of the block. The patient is asked to lie on an x-ray table and the skin is prepped with an antiseptic. Then the skin is numbed with local anesthetic. The procedure needle is then placed through the anesthetized area to the specified site and its position is checked with the x-ray machine. It may be possible that a tiny amount of dye is needed to help confirm the needle placement. Then the mixture of steroid and local anesthetic is finally injected.
After the procedure, you will be able to move your legs but they may feel weak or numb. It is not recommended that you walk alone for the first 8 to 10 hours after the operation. It is also likely that you will not feel heat on your stomach or legs until the caudal block has worn off in about 8 to 10 hours.
The possible complications in this procedure include intravascular or intraosseous injection, dural puncture, perforation of the rectum, sepsis, urinary retention, subcutaneous injection, hematoma and absent or patchy block.
What is a block?
It is an injection of a mixture of a local anesthetic medication and a strong anti-inflammatory medication at a specific site in order to control inflammation and pain. Block procedures require placing a small needle into the area of your spine where there is pain.
Do blocks always work?
Generally, there is about 70 to 80% incidence of improvement or remission of symptoms for some period of time after the injection. But in about 10 to 15% of the cases, the symptoms go away and do not come back. However, normally the symptoms go away for a period of time and then return to some extent, usually several months after the injection.
Are there side effects to this procedure?
Serious side effects are extremely uncommon in this procedure. The more common side effects are an increase in the usual amount of pain or experiencing new pain that will eventually resolve within one to ten days. These reactions are called “flares” and occur rarely. Also, adverse reactions to the corticosteroids do not normally occur and are only temporary when they do occur. These include headaches, euphoria, depression, swelling, skin rash and even changes in menstrual regularity. More serious problems such as infection or severe allergic reactions, strokes, or heart attacks can theoretically occur at an incidence of about one in ten thousand injections. Some discomfort from the actual procedure is usually minimal, but it also depends on the particular problem.