Learning About Caudal Blocks for Children

Regions of the spine

What is a caudal block?

A caudal block is an injection of numbing medicine. For some surgeries that involve the area below the waist, a doctor may do a caudal block to help keep your child as pain-free as possible in the first few hours after surgery.

A caudal block is done along with giving your child medicine to make him or her sleep during surgery.

How is a caudal block done?

The injection goes through an opening in the child's tailbone near the nerves at the end of the spinal cord. The block numbs those nerves so that they don't send pain messages to the brain. This is most often done after the child is asleep.

What can you expect after your child's caudal block?

The caudal block may affect how well your child can move his or her legs. Follow your doctor's instructions to keep your child safe until the block wears off. That usually takes 3 to 6 hours.

Problems from a nerve block are rare. There is a small risk of problems like bleeding, damage to nerves, or infection.

In very rare cases, there can be a serious problem with a child's breathing or heartbeat right after the block.

But the benefit of keeping your child as pain-free as possible usually outweighs the risks of this procedure.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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