What is an Epidural Steroid Injection?
The Epidural Steroid Injection (‘ESI’) is a procedure where anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory medicine (cortisone) is injected into the epidural space to treat pain caused by irritation of the spinal nerves. A protective covering called the dural sac surrounds the spinal cord. It contains spinal fluid that bathes and nourishes the spinal cord. The space between the dural sac and the bones of the spinal column is known as the epidural space. Nerves that extend from the spinal cord, through the spinal column and to the body pass through the epidural space.
Before the procedure
You will require a driver to bring you to the clinic and drive you home. If you are diabetic, please discuss your medication schedule with your doctor (GP). Remind your doctor of all the prescription or over-the-counter medications and supplements you currently take. You may need to stop taking certain medications several days before the procedure (e.g. Warfarin, Aspirin or Plavix). It is very important to tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to injected contrast before (CT, angiogram etc.)
During the scan
The ESI is performed in our CT room by one of our interventional radiologists. Your skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution, and then your radiologist will inject some local anaesthetic to cause skin numbness before the ESI. After the local anaesthetic takes effect the radiologist will insert another needle – using the aid of the CT scanner to confirm that the needle is in the correct position. A mixture of long acting anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory medicine (cortisone) will then be injected. The procedure normally takes 10-15 minutes.
After the procedure
You may experience some weakness and/or numbness in your legs (lumbar injection) for a few hours after the procedure. If so, please remain at the clinic until advised by the radiologist. Do not engage in any activities that require lifting, balance and coordination. Please also arrange for someone to drive you home and do not drive for the remainder of the day. It is likely and in most cases, you will be able to resume normal activities and return to work the following day. If the radiologist prescribes physical therapy it is very important that you adhere to this. Although you may feel much better immediately after the injection (due to the numbing medicine), there is a possibility your pain may return within a few hours. It may take up to 2-3 weeks for the cortisone medication to start working.
Bookings are required for this procedure.