Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection

This procedure is performed to relieve pain in the lower back that radiates to the legs. The injection of a steroid-anesthetic medication can reduce swelling and inflammation of irritated spinal nerves and only takes a few minutes to complete. For the procedure, you lie face down with a cushion placed under the abdomen, which causes the spine to bend in a way that opens the spaces on the sides of the spine. These spaces are called the foramina. The physician will swab an anesthetic on the skin to numb the skin and the tissue that covers the spine. When the area is numb, the physician carefully guides a needle into the foraminal space that surrounds the irritated nerve root. The physician uses a fluoroscope (a video x-ray) to confirm that the tip of the needle is positioned correctly. After the needle’s position has been confirmed, the physician injects a steroid-anesthetic medication. This medication bathes the irritated nerve roots to help alleviate the patient’s pain. When the procedure is complete, the physician removes the needle and bandages the insertion site. The patient may feel significant relief after one injection. Some patients may need multiple injections before they feel the full benefit of the medication. Your PCA physician will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan.