Nerve block surgery is the process of injecting a local anesthetic to nerves in the body to relieve pain during and after surgery, according to the Washington University School of Medicine. Anesthesiologists insert a nerve catheter to administer numbing medication, which remains in the body for two or three days.
Nerve blocks are also used to treat chronic pain conditions and determine the source of pain, explains WebMD. Anesthesiologists administer nerve blocks so physicians can evaluate what part of the body is causing pain and determine if medical procedures or surgery is necessary to treat nerve damage or limb pain.
Several types of nerve block procedures can be performed such as a trigeminal nerve block to the face, a cervical epidural to the neck and back or a subarachnoid block to the abdomen and pelvis, according to WebMD. The goal of the surgery or procedure is to numb painful areas to relieve pain or prep a patient for surgery.
Nerve block surgery is a useful tool for physicians to evaluate medical conditions, but side effects may affect the patient, according to WebMD. Patients are at risk for developing soreness at the site of the nerve block injection, bleeding, itching and elevated blood sugars. Some patients experience extra energy, weight gain or, in extreme cases, death.