Intercostal Nerve Block Procedure
The intercostal nerves are located under the ribs and provide sensation to the chest area. An intercostal nerve block is performed as a diagnostic procedure or to treat pain from shingles, rib fractures or a past surgical incision in the chest area. The injection of a steroid medication will help to decrease inflammation of the nerve(s) that is causing your pain. Depending upon the level of relief that you receive, your doctor may recommend that you have more than one injection. Although uncommon, risks include infection, bleeding and nerve damage. There is also a possibility of making a puncture into the lung cavity. This would need to be treated in the emergency room.
Last reviewed July 2013 by APM's Medical Executive Committee.