Differential Spinal Block


Differential Spinal Blocks differ from their Epidural counterparts primarily in the depth of placement of the catheter. They are used primarily where scarring in the epidural space might restrict the spread of the medication and invalidate the test.

The technique of differential spinal blockade is similar to the technique used in differential epidural blockade except that the catheter is placed a little deeper to actually lie in the cerebrospinal fluid directly next to the spinal cord. It is used less frequently because differential epidural blockade usually yields the same information and because the insertion of a 18 gauge needle to allow for the placement of a 20 gauge catheter almost always results in a severe headache that can last for from several days to two weeks. It is used primarily in cases where scarring or adhesions within the epidural space would make the diffusion and action of the medication unreliable.

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