What is an Intercostal Nerve Block?
The intercostal nerves (ICNs) innervate the major parts of the skin and musculature of the chest and abdominal wall. In 1981, continuous ICNB was introduced to overcome the problems associated with repeated multiple injections. Today, ICNB is used in a variety of acute and chronic pain conditions affecting the thorax and upper abdomen, including breast and chest wall surgery. Introduction of ultrasound guidance to the practice of regional anesthesia further facilitates its practice.


  • What is the Intercostal Nerve Block Treatment Like?

    The first step of the intercostal nerve block treatment is applying a local anesthetic to the treatment area. This helps to relieve any discomfort that may occur during the injection process. Once the treatment area is numbed, a needle will be carefully inserted into the intercostal nerves between the ribs. This area will be accessed from your back, as you are lying face-down. After the needle is in place, the injection will be performed. This treatment is typically completed in less than an hour. After treatment, you may notice some minor swelling or bruising at the injection site, but these effects usually fade within a few days.

  • What Kind of Results Can I Expect from an Intercostal Nerve Block?

    After your intercostal nerve block treatment, you will notice immediate pain relief due to the local anesthetic that is injected. This will wear off in a few hours, and pain may return briefly. The steroid medication will take effect within a few days, soothing inflammation and blocking nerve signals so that you can enjoy long-lasting pain relief. The results from your intercostal nerve block can last between several weeks and several months. The exact duration of these results will vary, so we will help you determine the kind of results that you can expect during your initial visit.

Meet our Doctors