Statement on Anesthetic Care During Interventional Pain Procedures for Adults
Developed By: Committee on Pain Medicine
Last Amended: October 13, 2021 (original approval: October 22, 2005)
Use of sedation and/or anesthesia during the performance of pain procedures requires balancing the needs of the patient with the potential risks. The Committee recognizes the provision of procedural sedation or anesthesia as a separate and distinct service from the pain procedure, thus requiring specific training and credentialing as detailed in the ASA “Statement on Granting Privileges for Administration of Moderate Sedation to Practitioners Who Are Not Anesthesia Professionals.” When sedation is provided during the performance of a pain procedure, it should allow the patient to be responsive during critical portions of the procedure, e.g., to report potential procedure-related paresthesia, acute changes in pain intensity or function, or potential toxicities.
Interventional pain procedures generally only require local anesthesia; however, patients may elect to also receive supplemental sedation. For most patients who require supplemental sedation, the physician performing the interventional pain procedure(s) can prescribe minimal sedation/analgesia (anxiolysis) or moderate (conscious) sedation as part of the procedure. For a limited number of patients, an anesthesia care team may be required (see ASA “Statement on the Anesthesia Care Team”). Examples of procedures that typically do not require moderate sedation or an anesthesia care team include but are not limited to epidural steroid injections; epidural blood patch; trigger point injections; shoulder, hip, sacroiliac, facet and knee joint injections; medial branch nerve blocks; and peripheral nerve blocks.
Significant patient anxiety and/or medical comorbidities may be an indication for moderate (conscious) sedation or anesthesia care team services. In addition, procedures that require the patient to remain motionless for a prolonged period of time and/or remain in a painful position may require moderate sedation or anesthesia care team services. Examples of such procedures include but are not limited to sympathetic blocks (celiac plexus, paravertebral, and hypogastric); chemical or radiofrequency ablation; percutaneous discectomy; vertebral augmentation procedures; trial spinal cord stimulator lead placement; permanent spinal cord stimulator generator and lead implantation; and intrathecal pump implantation.
Anesthesia services are not the same as moderate (conscious) sedation. For more information, see the ASA Statements “Distinguishing Monitored Anesthesia Care (‘MAC’) from Moderate Sedation/Analgesia (Conscious Sedation)” and “Continuum of Depth of Sedation; Definition of General Anesthesia and Levels of Sedation/Analgesia.”