What Are Some Possible Complications of an Epidural Injection Procedure?


Quick Answer

Headache, bleeding, infection and nerve damage are possible complications of an epidural injection procedure, according to Spine-health. If a patient experiences an allergic reaction to the injected medication, itching, wheezing, swelling or lowered blood pressure may occur, states eMedicineHealth.

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Full Answer

The most common complication of an epidural injection procedure occurs when the needle insertion is too deep and creates a hole in the dura, the tissue surrounding the spinal cord and nerve roots, explains eMedicineHealth. This allows leakage of spinal fluid, which causes the patient to develop a headache. Bed rest often alleviates the headache, but a blood patch is another remedy. This involves drawing blood from a vein and injecting it over the hole in the dura to create a seal that prevents further fluid leakage. This complication occurs in 0.5 percent of epidural injection procedures, states Spine-health.

Excessive bleeding is a rare complication of epidural injection procedures, advises Spine-health. It most commonly occurs in patients with underlying bleeding disorders. Infection is another extremely rare complication.

Nerve damage can occur if the needle comes in contact with the spinal cord or nerve root, explains eMedicineHealth. This usually causes temporary tingling or numbness in the extremities. Bleeding or infection can also cause nerve damage, notes Spine-health.

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