Epidural Steroid Injections


What is Epidural space?


Epidural space is a potential space within the spinal canal. It surrounds the outermost covering of the spinal cord (dura mater). It contains nerve roots, blood vessels & fatty tissue.


What is Epidural Steroid Injection?


Epidural Steroid Injection is the placement of cortisone, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent mixed with preservative free lidocaine an anesthetic into the epidural space. It has been used for over 40 years as treatment for back pain. It can be placed in centrally or antero- laterally based upon the location of the disc herniation on MRI review. The main goal of the epidural injection is to shrink the swelling in the bulging or herniated discs and decrease any inflammation that surrounds the spinal nerves.


Who needs an Epidural Steroid Injection ?


Epidural Steroid Injections help patients with disc herniations, spinal stenosis and sciatica which is a burning type pain into the extremities. It is considered to be an effective means for the nonsurgical treatment of spinal pain syndromes.


How long does the injection take and will it hurt?


The actual injection takes only a few minutes. The procedure is done anesthesia or under local anesthesia to minimize discomfort.


How is the injection performed?


It is done with the patient lying on the stomach with fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance. The skin is cleansed with anti-septic solution and then the injection is carried out based upon the exact location of the spinal nerves affected. After the injection, you are taken to a recovery area to rest.


What are the risk and the complications?


Epidural injections are generally safe procedures. Any interventional procedure within the spine may have very minimal risk of infection, bleeding, spinal headache and injury to blood vessels or nerves. The complications are prevented by the use of anti septic techniques and x-ray and dye to visualize exact needle placement.


What should I expect after the injection?

Epidural injections are generally safe procedures. Immediately after the injection, you may feel that your pain may be gone or quite less. This is due to the local anesthetic injected. This will last for a few hours. The steroid medication will take about 3-5 days to work and cause overall anti-inflammatory effect and pain reduction. The steroid will offer relief for several months duration.