Epidural Steroid Injections, Huntsville AL
Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) use an anesthetic and steroid medication injected into the patient’s epidural space to relieve or diagnose a specific spinal condition. This injection is indicated to relieve pain in the back or neck and radicular symptoms caused by pinched nerves in the cervical spine, thoracic, lumbar or caudal spine. Conditions such as herniated discs and spinal stenosis can compress nerves, causing inflammation and pain. The medication injected helps decrease the swelling of nerves. This procedure is performed under x-ray guidance (also called fluoroscopy).
The ESI procedure is performed to relieve low back and radiating leg pain. Steroid medication can reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by spinal conditions.
The ESI Procedure
- Patient Positioning. The patient lies face down. A cushion under the stomach area provides comfort and flexes the back. In this position, the spine opens and allows for easier access to the epidural space.
- Tissue Anesthetized. A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin. All the tissue down to the surface of the lamina portion of the lumbar vertebra bone is anesthetized. The physician slides a thicker needle through the anesthetized track.
- Fluoroscopic Guidance. Using a fluoroscope for guidance, the physician slides the needle toward the epidural space between the L-4 and L-5 vertebra. A contrast solution is injected. The physician uses the fluoroscope to confirm the correct location of the needle tip.
- Steroids Injected. A steroid-anesthetics mix is injected into the epidural space, bathing the painful nerve root with soothing medication.
- End of Procedure. The needle is removed, and a small bandage is applied to cover the tiny needle surface wound. In some cases it may be necessary to repeat the procedure as many as three times to get the full benefit of the medication. Many patients get significant relief from only one or two injections.