An epidural injection is an injection of a long acting local anesthetic agent and/or steroid into the epidural space – the space that encircles the dural sac which then surrounds the spinal cord. The injection aims to decrease the inflammation in the space which tends to cause symptoms.
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After local anesthetic is applied to the area of skin to be entered, a spinal needle is guided into the target area using fluoroscopy for accuracy and safety. Non-ionic contrast medium is then injected to ensure proper needle placement and to document that the vascular structures are not invaded. After certifying the proper needle placement a combination of local anesthetic and corticosteroid is injected into the target area.
At Metro Spine, this procedure is performed in a Medicare-certified and state-certified Ambulatory Surgery Center equipped with the most advanced technology to accurately perform interventions. Fluoroscopy (X-Ray imaging) is used by our pain specialist to guide a needle into the joint to inject the anesthetic agent. A diagnosis is confirmed by relief of the pain. Corticosteroid (a strong long acting anti-inflammatory agent) may also be injected into the joint to provide extended relief of pain in that joint.
Because patient comfort is of paramount importance at MSPC, interventions using MAC is an option offered. Local anesthetic is injected in the area to be entered even if monitored anesthetic care (MAC) is used in the center.
How long does this procedure take to perform?
At the Metro Spine Pain Center’s ambulatory surgery center, the epidural injection is safely performed using state of the art equipment. The procedure, from sterile preparation to completion takes about 20 to 30 minutes with a short period of observation before discharge.
What should one expect after the epidural injection?
We recommend that you have a driver to take you home. We also recommend that you rest and take it easy for the rest of the day. Right after the injection you may feel that your pain is gone or quite less than prior to the procedure. This is due to the anesthetic. The anesthetic will last for a few hours. The pain may return and you may have soreness once the anesthetic wears off. You may want to apply ice to the affected area. You should start noticing pain relief 3-5 days after the procedure.
How frequently should one have these procedures performed?
If the first injection does not relieve your symptoms in about 2-3 weeks, you may be recommended to have one more injection. Depending on your response after a second injection you may have a third injection or possible radiofrequency ablation.