What is it?
The epidural space surrounds the spinal canal and is very close to several pain-generating structures such as the intervertebral disc and spinal nerve roots. An epidural injection involves placing a needle into the epidural space to inject medications such as anesthetics and corticosteroids to decrease inflammation and pain. An epidural injection can be done at virtually any level of the spine, including cervical, thoracic, lumbar or caudal. It is typically performed under fluoroscopic guidance to insure accuracy and safety.
How is it done?
Using fluoroscopic guidance and anatomic landmarks, a specialized needle is placed through the skin and into the epidural space. A small volume of contrast dye is injected into the epidural space to verify accurate needle position. The dye injection can often also provide diagnostic information; this is called an epidurogram. Finally, the corticosteroid and anesthetic mixture is injected into the epidural space.
Decreased inflammation in the target sites, i.e. periphery of injured disc and/or affected spinal nerve roots. This usually results in substantial decrease of back and/or leg pain.
How long does it take?
The procedure takes ten to fifteen minutes plus recovery time.