Epidural steroid injection ...
Sometimes nerves can become irritated at the point where they join the spinal cord. This can cause pain which is felt in the back or legs.
During an epidural steroid injection, a type of drug called a corticosteroid in injected into the epidural space (the space the nerves travel through before joining the spinal cord). The aim of this injection is to reduce the nerve irritation and hence reduce the pain.
What does the procedure involve?
The procedure is performed as a day procedure in an operating theatre. When you arrive the nursing staff will prepare you for theatre. In theatre, you will be asked to lie face down on the operating table. The area around the injection site will be cleaned and a local anaesthetic will be injected around the site. The epidural needle is then inserted under x-ray guidance. Once it is in the correct location, the corticosteroid is injected slowly. If you are (or think you may be) pregnant, please contact our office as soon as possible to discuss treatment in this circumstance, as x-ray guidance can not be used.
After the procedure has been performed, you will be monitored for a short time before you go home. You should organise for someone to drive you home after the procedure.
A few weeks after the procedure, you will have a follow up appointment with your doctor at Specialised Pain Medicine. The information for this appointment will be sent to you with the procedure information and hospital paperwork.
What are the possible complications?
This procedure has a very low risk of complication, but there are some that you should be aware of.
Local discomfort: some patients may experience some discomfort in the area of the injection for a few hours or a few days. This is the most common complication following an epidural steroid injection.
Post-dural puncture headache: occasionally patients may develop a headache which is worse when they are standing up. This type of headache is uncommon but can happen if the needle pierces the dura (the inner membrane of the epidural space). Please contact our office if you develop a headache after the procedure.
Low blood pressure: we will measure your blood pressure after the procedure, and if it is low we will give you some fluids, either orally or intravenously. It is uncommon for this to occur.
Bleeding or infection: These are very rare. Please contact our office immediately if you develop a fever, worsening back pain or numbness and / or weakness in your legs after the procedure. If these symptoms occur outside office hours, you should contact your GP or attend the nearest emergency department.