Epidural Steroid Injection Decreases Inflammation

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What is an epidural steroid injection?

An epidural steroid injection is an outpatient procedure that can be performed in the office with local anesthetic, or in a facility with conscious sedation. It is used to treat pain caused by inflammation and swelling of the discs and nerves in the spine by injecting steroid into the epidural space of the affected levels.

What can you expect during your visit?

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In the office, you will meet with your doctor in the exam room first. They will go over all the risks and benefits of this procedure. Then, you will be taken to the exam room and prepped for the injection. You will be asked to lay face down on the exam room bed and a fluoroscopy guidance machine will be brought into position. Your doctor will then numb the area with a local anesthetic and then insert an epidural needle into the epidural space. A small amount of dye will be injected to show the correct placement has been achieved. The doctor will inject the steroid through the epidural needle and the needle is removed. The medical assistant will clean up the skin and place a bandage over the injection site. You will be monitored for about 5 minutes after the procedure.

In a facility, you will check into the facility an hour and a half in advance. You will be asked to fast for 6 hours prior to your procedure. You will be brought back and prepped by a nurse on staff. They will insert the IV for the conscious sedation. Once in the procedure room you will be placed in the prone position and a fluoroscopy guidance machine will be brought into position. Your doctor will numb the area with a local anesthetic and then insert an epidural needle into the epidural space. A small amount of dye will then be injected to show the correct placement has been achieved. The doctor will inject the steroid through the epidural needle and the needle is removed. The medical assistant will clean up the skin and place a bandage over the injection site. You will be monitored for about 30 minutes after the procedure.

What happens after the injection?

You will be asked not to drive for at least 24 hours after the procedure and you must have a driver to drive you home from our office. The day of and the following day you may feel some discomfort in the injection areas. It takes 3-5 days for the steroid to fully kick in. Additional injections may be needed for optimum relief. Sometimes, these injections are done in a series of 2 or 3.

How long will the pain relief last?

The duration of the pain relief will vary from patient to patient. It can last from only a few days to a matter of months.

Is there anything specific I need to tell my doctor prior to this procedure?

You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant, on blood thinners, diabetic, or if you have any other concerns you would like to address beforehand.

The above information is for general education purposes only. Please ask your doctor specific questions during your visit.

Our specialists at Oklahoma Pain Management will make sure you get the treatment you need to find relief – so you can focus on what’s important. Schedule your appointment today.