An epidural steroid injection places this powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly around the spinal nerves. Traditionally epidural injections were administered without any special equipment, by inserting the needle by feel in the area around the spinal nerves. More recently epidural injections have been administered with the aid of imaging tools to allow your physician to see the needle going to the proper location. Either real-time x-ray, called fluoroscopy, or CT scan can be used to 'watch' the needle deliver the medication to the proper location.
How often cortisone injections are given varies based on the reason for the injection. This is determined on a case-by-case basis by the health care practitioner. If a single cortisone injection is curative, then further injections are unnecessary. Sometimes, a series of injections might be necessary; for example, cortisone injections for a trigger finger may be given every three weeks, to a maximum of three times in one affected finger. In other instances, such as knee osteoarthritis, a second cortisone injection may be given approximately three months after the first injection, but the injections are not generally continued on a regular basis.
Some side effects associated with spinal puncture include bruising, bleeding, infections, headaches, and blood clots. Cortisone side effects may cause weight gain, water retention, hot flashes, mood swings or insomnia, and elevated blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Epidural steroid injections can provide diagnostic and therapeutic benefits. ESIs have been endorsed by the North American Spine Society and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the Department of Health and Human Services. Discuss this procedure with your friendly and caring doctor at the Florida Spine Institute to determine whether it is the right treatment for you.