Epidural Blood Patch
An epidural blood patch is an interventional procedure that uses the patient’s own blood to treat a dural leak. The dura is the sac surrounding the spinal cord that contains spinal fluid. There are several causes of dural leak. Most commonly, it occurs after spine surgery, a spinal tap or inadvertently after an epidural steroid injection. Patients suffering form a dural leak often complain of severe headaches in the back of the head and neck. The pain usually resolves when the patient lays down flat.
The epidural blood patch is performed by drawing the patient’s blood, while simultaneously placing a needle in the epidural space. Once the epidural needle is in place, the patient’s blood is injected into that epidural space using a sterile approach.
As an alternative to epidural blood patch, the patient may elect to move forward with conservative management, which includes rest, hydration, and caffeine.