Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection

What Is a Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection?

Transforaminal epidural steroid injections are a common, minimally invasive treatment choice for back and leg pain. They are used to treat pain in the lumbar section of the spine caused by irritated nerves. Herniated disks, sciatica, degenerating discs, and arthritic spinal joints are all potential sources of irritation. The discs between our vertebrae deteriorate due to natural wear and tear or as the result of traumatic injuries and certain medical conditions.

Spinal discs act as shock-absorbing cushions that allow for the healthy bending and flexing of the back. Over time, these discs may become worn and lose their strength. The most commonly affected discs are the ones located near the lumbar region. The pain caused by these conditions can range from mild to severe and tend to worsen over time. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Tingling & numbness
  • Aching hands, arms, legs & feet

How Do Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injections Work?

With the aid of fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray guidance, a physician will insert a small needle into the epidural space while the patient lays on their abdomen. The injection site is numbed with a local anesthetic to help minimize discomfort. The needle used during this procedure is smaller than the ones generally utilized in a conventional epidural setting. Once the physician is able to confirm the correct placement of the needle, they will inject the steroid agents.

Transforaminal epidural steroid injections are usually performed in under 30 minutes with the patient’s ability to go home the same day after a short recovery period. Numbness immediately after the injection is to be expected and will dissipate in a matter of hours. We do not recommend that you drive or do any strenuous activity for the first 24 hours after the procedure. Those who opt for this type of procedure often experience immediate relief, but this is the result of the anesthetics. Once these wear off, it takes 2 to 3 days for the steroids to take effect and provide long-term relief.

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How to Prepare for Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injections

The first step to determine your eligibility to receive a transforaminal epidural steroid injection is to perform a thorough physical examination and carefully consider your medical and family history. This step is particularly crucial as corticosteroids may temporarily elevate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and affect patients with bleeding problems. Our physicians will also inquire about the type of medications you are currently taking to determine if you must stop taking them before the procedure.

If you or anyone you know is currently suffering from any of the previously discussed symptoms, we encourage you to reach out to our team today. Our expert interventional pain specialists possess decades of experience in pain management and treatment. We would be happy to answer any question or concern you may have about your condition and the treatment options we offer.

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