Intercostal nerve blocks are a type of regional anesthesia used to alleviate pain in the chest, abdominal wall, or ribcage. These blocks involve injecting a local anesthetic medication, such as lidocaine or bupivacaine, into the intercostal space, which is the area between two adjacent ribs.
The intercostal nerves are responsible for providing sensation to the skin and muscles of the chest and upper abdominal wall. When these nerves are blocked, they are unable to transmit pain signals to the brain, thereby reducing pain in the affected area.
Intercostal nerve blocks are commonly used to manage pain after chest surgery, such as thoracotomy, and for conditions such as rib fractures, intercostal neuralgia, and shingles (herpes zoster). They can be performed as a single injection or as a series of injections over a period of time, depending on the individual patient’s needs.« Back to Glossary Index