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New Technique Effective in L5 Radicular Syndrome

Case series illustrates benefits of ultrasound and nerve stimulation-guided L5 nerve root block

THURSDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with L5 radicular syndrome, an ultrasound-guided L5 nerve root block using electrical nerve stimulation is safe and effective, according to a study in the Nov. 15 issue of Spine.

Masaki Sato, M.D., of Omigawa General Hospital in Chiba, Japan, and colleagues used the technique to treat 78 patients and used a contrast agent to compare ultrasonic guidance using electrical nerve stimulation with radiographic guidance.

Except for three patients in whom nerve block could not be performed, the researchers observed decreased sensation at the L5 neural region, and either decreased or fully resolved pain in all treated patients. They also found that all treated patients felt the tapping sensation at their L5 neural regions with no muscle contractions, and that contrast radiography showed an extraneural pattern in 71 patients, a paraneural pattern in four patients, and an intraneural pattern in no patients.

"The patients feel almost no pain when conducted with the use of electrical nerve stimulation, and consequently, the incidence of neural damage is low," the authors write. "This method can be applied to lumbosacral nerve block at other levels."

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