This is a rare complication that may occur if a small hole is made in the fibrous sac and does not close up after the needle puncture. These small holes are only made in less than 1% of epidural injections and usually heal on their own. The spinal fluid inside can leak out, and when severe, the brain loses the cushioning effect of the fluid, which causes a severe headache when you sit or stand. These types of headaches occur typically about 2-3 days after the procedure and are positional - they come on when you sit or stand and go away when you lie down. If you do develop a spinal headache, it is OK to treat yourself. As long as you do not feel ill and have no fever and the headache goes away when you lay down, you may treat yourself with 24 hours of bed rest with bathroom privileges while drinking plenty of fluids. This almost always works. If it does not, contact the radiologist who performed the procedure or your referring physician. A procedure (called an epidural blood patch) can be performed in the hospital that has a very high success rate in treating spinal headaches.
Dr. Deborah M. Autor, deputy commissioner fo r global regulatory operations and policy at the Food and Drug Administration, said Thursday during the press conference that more than 50 unopened vials have been found to be contaminated at facilities across the country in addition to the center based in Framingham, Mass. Tests are ongoing to verify the type of fungus found in those vials. Autor said the agency ruled out contamination of epidural trays made by other companies which held the vials. Previously, officials had noted one contaminated vial was found during an inspection at the New England Compounding Center.