Transforaminal epidural steroid injections provide relief to damaged or irritated nerve roots within the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. This minimally invasive, outpatient procedure is typically administered to those experiencing back pain from degenerative conditions such as spinal stenosis or radiculopathy. The injection contains a steroid-anesthetic medication, and it usually takes a few minutes to complete.
What to Expect
The procedure will begin with the patient lying face down on an examination table with a cushion placed under his or her abdomen. This helps keep the patient comfortable and provides easy access to the foramina (spaces on either side of the spine) for the injection.
The targeted area will then be cleaned, and a local anesthetic will be administered to reduce pain during the procedure. Using an x-ray device called a fluoroscope, a contrast dye will be injected into the foraminal space surrounding the irritated nerve roots. This helps TriState Pain Institute physicians identify the correct position for the steroid-anesthetic medication. Once the correct location has been confirmed, the medication will be injected into the irritated nerve roots. The needle will then be removed, and a bandage will be placed over the injection site.
Multiple injections may be needed to provide sufficient pain relief. Patients should feel immediate pain relief following the injection. This is largely due to the anesthetic, which is why patients may also experience pain a few hours after the procedure. Long lasting pain relief from the steroid medication is usually within 3-5 days. Patients should rest, limit their activity levels, and report any swelling, redness, rash, or unusual pain to their TriState Pain Institute physician.