An image-guided epidural injection can provide temporary or lasting relief from pain or inflammation in the spine or extremities. In order to ensure the needle is placed in the precise location, image guidance is used by a radiologist to confirm the correct location for maximum benefit.

This is one of many methods used to relieve pain if a patient is not responding to conservative treatments.

An epidural injection may alleviate pain caused by:

  • A herniated or bulging disc that impinges nerves, causing pain
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
  • Other injuries to spinal nerves, vertebrae and surrounding tissues
  • Bone spurs

This procedure is most often performed on an outpatient basis. The epidural injection only takes minutes to administer, but positioning in the CT or x-ray unit may take longer.

The radiologist will identify where the injection should be given and will clean and sterilize the skin with an aseptic solution. A local anesthetic is then injected to help numb the area before administering the epidural injection.

Once the area is numb, the doctor will use image guidance to help guide the epidural needle to exactly the right position. When the needle is in the proper location, a contrast material will be injected so the radiologist can accurately determine that the needle is in the precise location. Then, the radiologist will slowly inject the medication, which is typically a combination of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory drugs (cortisone/steroids).

Each individual is different in regards to the effects of an epidural steroid injection. Sometimes the injection may be repeated after a number of weeks or months.

– courtesy RadiologyInfo.org

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