WHAT ARE EPIDURAL INJECTIONS?
Epidural Injections are delivered into the epidural space of the spine providing relief from pain or inflammation. Typically, steroids, anesthetics and anti-inflammatory medications are delivered in the injection. The medication should reduce the pain and swelling in and around the spinal nerve roots, as well as around damaged nerves. At Excel Imaging, your Esse Health Radiologist will review previous images of the spine and discuss with you the area causing the most pain. Fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray imaging) will be used to guide the needle placement.
REASON FOR THE PROCEDURE
Epidural Injections are one of the many ways your Esse Health Radiologist may help to alleviate your pain if oral medications or physical therapy have not been successful. Common conditions that benefit from Epidural Injections include a herniated or bulging disk, spinal stenosis, chronic back or leg pain after spinal surgery and other injuries to the spinal nerves, vertebrae and surrounding tissues.
Your Esse Health Radiologist will numb the injection site then position you in a CT Scanner. CT uses low dose X-rays from multiple angles to create images to guide the placement of the needle. Once in position, contrast material will be released to confirm the route the medication will take once it is injected. Next, medication (typically a mix of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory agents) will be administered. The actual Epidural Injection usually takes only minutes to deliver but positioning in the CT scanner unit may take longer. The duration of improvement from the Epidural Injection varies. A patient may experience relief for a few days up to several months; however, the pain may eventually return, requiring either another injection or an alternative treatment.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS, RISKS, AND COMPLICATIONS
The risks of the procedure are minimal. You may experience a temporary increase in pain or headache. Other complications may include a reaction to the medications, infection at the injection site, bleeding if a blood vessel is accidentally damaged, injury to nerves at the injection site and temporary paralysis of the nerves leading to the bladder and bowel causing bladder and bowel dysfunction. If the Epidural Injection is given in the neck, rare complications include spinal cord injury, stroke, or death if the needle is incorrectly placed.