Epidural injections are used to treat neck, back, arm and leg pain, depending on which level the needle is placed and exactly where in the epidural space.
It is essential that Melbourne Radiology Clinic knows in advance of any blood thinning (or anticoagulant) medication.
These must be stopped prior to the procedure (Aspirin and Warfarin for 5 days, Plavix for 7 days & Iscover for 8 days).
We also strongly recommend that you bring a responsible person to drive you home afterwards.
Serious side effects are rare, however if you have an existing condition, this must be discussed with your referring doctor before having treatment. People with local skin or systemic infections are at greater risk of having an infection spreading into the spine after spinal injection treatment. Therefore, if you have a skin infection, which may include wounds, boils or rashes, please tell your doctor or arrange to have the procedure performed at a later date.
most of these are minor (<1%), however can be serious (<0.1%) requiring hospital admission, intravenous antibiotics and surgery.
this is fortunately also rare and slightly common in patients with bleeding disorders and on “blood thinning” medication. Blood thinning medications that you are currently taking should be ceased (Aspirin and Warfarin for 5 days, Plavix for 7 days and Iscover for 8 days).
As these medications constantly evolve with advances in medicine, the times to cease these medications may vary with newer medications. Should you be on different medications, please contact us or the doctor who prescribed the medication for further advice.
from direct needle trauma, or as a consequence of the above mentioned complications.
this is when the needle penetrates into the sac encasing the nerves within the spinal canal, causing leakage of fluid contained within the sac, known as CSF (cerebrospinal fluid), that may result persistent headaches. The risk of this procedure is approximately less than 1% and is treated with flat bed rest for two hours..
You will be asked to wear a gown with the selected area of the spine exposed. Epidural injections are usually completed with you lying face down in a CT scanner. We will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.
A series of planning images are performed, with the area of needle entry planned and then marked on your skin.
The radiologist will then clean your skin with an antiseptic wash and inject local anaesthetic into the injection site. This results in a stinging sensation which is temporary until the skin becomes numb, usually taking 10 seconds.
A fine needle is then passed through the skin and tissues, constantly manipulated under CT guidance until it enters the intended epidural space.
Gas or contrast is then injected to confirm the correct depth of the needle. Once confirmed, a mixture of cortisone and local anaesthetic is injected, which often results in an increased pressure sensation within the back and/or leg pain, usually described as a burning sensation.
The cortisone decreases the inflammation in the epidural space which is responsible for your symptoms.
Following your procedure & recovery
At most, you will feel some minor discomfort in the back. As local anaesthetic has been injected into the spine, most patients will be pain free, however the local anaesthetic that has also been administered into the epidural space frequently comes into contact with adjacent nerves and may result in your arm or leg (depending one whether the nerves in the neck or lower back have been injected) feeling numb, heavy, clumsy, weak or even cold. This usually reverses in approximately 20-40 minutes.
Most patients are observed in the clinic for at least 30 minutes and are discharged after this point only if walking safely and feeling well. You should not drive for the rest of the day. The following day you may return to work and gradually increase your activities.
One of Melbourne Radiology Clinic’s specialist radiologists, a medical doctor specialising in the interpretation of medical images for the purposes of providing a diagnosis, will then review the images and provide a formal written report. If medically urgent, or you have an appointment immediately after the scan to be seen by your doctor or health care provider, Melbourne Radiology Clinic will have your results ready without delay. Otherwise, the report will be received by your doctor or health care provider within the next 24 hours.
Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.
Your referring doctor or health care provider is the most appropriate person to explain to you the results of the scans and for this reason, we do not release the results directly to you.