Epidural Injections, Nerve Blocks, and Facet Blocks.
A typical epidural injection delivers two different medications into the space that surrounds the nerves emanating from the spine; the purpose of the injection is to provide temporary or prolonged relief from pain and inflammation. Steroid drugs, typically a cortisone-like drug and an anesthetic such as xylocaine, are delivered during any of these injections.
Facet blocks are injections given into or in the vicinity of the small joints that line the spine from skull to buttocks; these small joints allow for bending. Just like joints elsewhere in the body, they may become arthritic and be a source of pain and disability. Frequently, multiple joints are treated at once. The injection may reduce pain and swelling in and around the spinal nerve roots or joints which in time may heal. The procedure is NOT intended to remove disc tissue or to realign the spine.
All procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis.
How are Image-Guided Procedures Performed.
Image-guided procedures are done on an outpatient basis. Injection of the medication usually takes only 10-15 minutes but the patient should expect to be in our facility for 45-60 minutes.
The doctor will precisely identify where the injection should be given and will sterilize the skin with an antiseptic solution. Local anesthetics are used to numb the area before administering the injection. Once the area is numb, the doctor will use CT guidance to help guide the needle to the predetermined location.
When the needle has been appropriately advanced, a small amount of a contrast material (x-ray dye) will be injected so the doctor can ensure the correct location of the needle tip. Then, the doctor will slowly inject the medication (cortisone and anesthetic). When finished, you will be allowed to leave after 30-60 minutes of further monitoring in our facility.
What to Expect During the Injection.
You will feel a brief sting and burning sensation when the local anesthetic is injected under the skin. You may also feel a slight pressure as the needle is inserted. Positioning the needle can occasionally cause a sharp pain, in which case tell your doctor immediately if you feel it. When the injection is finished, however, any discomfort usually disappears. It is possible to feel “pins and needles” in your legs, depending on the injection site.
It is recommended that you take it easy for the rest of the day. You may resume normal activities the next day.
Note: The costs of the examination are usually reimbursed by the private health insurance companies. Therefore, we can only offer the PRT as a self-payer service (IGeL) to statutory insured persons.