An epidural blood patch is an outpatient procedure where a small amount of your blood is used to seal leaking spinal fluid associated with epidurals, lumbar punctures, and spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leaks.
A spinal headache can occur as a result of a procedure such as a spinal tap or epidural block. In these procedures, a needle is placed within the fluid-filled space surrounding the spinal cord. This creates a passage for the spinal fluid to leak out, changing the fluid pressure around the brain and spinal cord. If enough of the fluid leaks out, a spinal headache may develop.
If conservative treatment for a headache fails, active treatment, such as an epidural blood patch, is required. The epidural blood patch is a surgical procedure where autologous blood is injected into the spine to repair holes in the spinal cord.
Relief from the spinal headache is often felt very quickly, and sometimes immediately after the blood patch is complete. Normal activities may be resumed shortly after the blood patch has had time to congeal. In rare instances, the procedure may need to be repeated.