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Epidural Steroid Injections

What is the epidural space and why is an epidural steroid injection helpful?
The epidural space is the space outside the dural membrane which covers the spinal cord and nerve roots. Nerves travel through the epidural space from your spine into your arms and legs. Things like herniated discs or bone spurs may compress or irritate these nerves which cause inflammation and pain in these areas. With an epidural injection, a steroid is placed into the epidural space in order to decrease this inflammation and relieve your pain.

What happens during the procedure?
You will lie face down on a procedure table. The physician will use fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance to visualize the spine. The physician will scrub your skin with sterile soap and place a drape on your spine. The physician will numb a small area of skin with anesthetic medication. After the anesthetic has been given time to be effective, the physician will then direct a very small needle using fluoroscopic guidance into the epidural space around the nerve root. The physician will inject a small amount of contrast (dye) to insure proper needle position and then a small mixture of anesthetic and steroid around the nerve root (s).

What happens after the procedure?
Immediately after the procedure, you will go to a recovery area where you will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes. Of note, your arm(s) or leg(s) may feel weak or numb for several hours after the procedure. You will not be able to drive the day of the procedure.

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