Epidural steroid injections are commonly prescribed for patients with a disc injury or spinal arthritis causing nerve irritation, and generally consist of local anesthetic (numbing medication such as lidocaine) and cortisone (a steroid that reduces inflammation and pain). Lidocaine is often injected initially so patients experience minimal, if any, pain during the procedure. The injection may be performed by placing the needle posteriorly between the spine bones (Translaminar or interlaminar) and injecting the medicine into the space around the spinal nerves. A transforaminal ESI means the injection is placed slightly to one side of the spine, and the medicine is injected near the ruptured disc and inflamed spinal nerve. A caudal ESI is performed by placing the needle near the tailbone, and injecting the medicine into the region of the sacral nerves and lower lumbar spinal nerves. Epidural steroid injections, as well as most spinal injections, are performed using a special x-ray guidance system called fluoroscopy. This allows the doctor to immediately see an x-ray image on a television screen and inject the medicine precisely into the right spot. The procedure time is often less than 10-15 minutes.
The following patients should not have this injection: if you are allergic to any of the medications to be injected, if you are on a blood-thinning medication (. Coumadin, injectable Heparin), or if you have an active infection going on. With blood thinners like Coumadin, your doctor may advise you to stop this for 4-7 days beforehand or take “bridge therapy” with Lovenox prior to the procedures. Anti-platelet drugs like Plavix may have to be stopped for 5-10 days prior to the procedure. Aspirin should be stopped for cervical procedures for 10 days prior, but not for Lumbar.
As a skilled and experienced Pain Medicine Interventionalist, Dr. Levin evaluates each patient very thoroughly and carefully to help determine appropriate treatment options in order to provide the most effective individualized care. These treatment options may include: Lumbar, Thoracic and Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections utilizing targeted transforaminal techniques, Lumbar and Cervical Sympathetic Blocks, Sphenopalatine, Facial and Head and Neck Procedures, Discography, Percutaneuos Discectomy or Disc Decompression procedures, precision joint and nerve injections, Radiofrequency Neuroablative procedures, Peripheral or Spinal Cord Stimulator trials and implants, Foraminoplasties and several patented and patent pending advanced interventional procedures.