Interventional procedures available at The Blackheath include:
- Nerve blocks
- Nerve root blocks / Pulsed radiofrequency neuro modulation
- Facet joint injections
- Medial branch blocks / Radiofrequency denervation
- Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) block
- Peripheral nerve blocks
Nerves act as the body’s messenger system, transmitting signals (electrical impulses) around it, from one part to another. A nerve block deliberately interrupts a signal in specific nerves to try to help relieve pain.
A nerve root block involves injecting an anaesthetic (and usually steroid as well) directly into the place the nerve leaves the spinal cord (known as the nerve root). The anaesthetic numbs the pain while the steroid acts to reduce any inflammation and swelling. This type of injection is usually targeted at one particular nerve and X-ray guidance is used to ensure precision.
Facet joints are small joints in the spine that join the vertebrae (bones of the back) together. A facet joint injection involves injecting an anaesthetic (and again, usually a steroid as well) into a facet joint.
A medial branch block involves an injection of an anaesthetic and steroid near the nerves connected to a specific facet joint (see above). This stops pain signals being transmitted along the nerve to the brain.
A Dorsal root ganglion block is carried under fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance. An anaesthetic and steroid injection is targeted to the dorsal root ganglion, the part of a spinal nerve that connects the nerve to the spine. This is often used to treat sciatic pain in the leg or arm.
Peripheral nerve blocks are best thought of as being an area-specific (regional) anaesthesia, used to block pain from being felt in certain areas. Often used in the legs, arms, hand and face.
Radiofrequency denervation of facet joints uses radio waves to destroy specific nerve fibres that supply a painful facet joint in the neck or back.
Pain management is an incredibly specialised and complex area of medicine. Not all types and causes of pain can always be fully treated, but your Consultant will ensure you receive the best possible pain relief for your specific condition.
Because of the complexity of this area and its overlap with so many other areas of medicine, your Pain Management Consultant works closely with other experts like spinal and orthopaedic surgeons to ensure you receive the best possible treatment and support you need at all times, from the most relevant expert.