Learning About Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections

Overview

Lumbar ESI is performed to relieve low back and radiating leg pain. Steroid medication used during this procedure can reduce swelling and inflammation.

Patient Positioning

You will be asked to lay face down on your stomach a cushion will be placed under your abdomen to provide comfort and to flex your back. This position allows the spine to be open and access to the epidural space.

Tissue Anesthetized

A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin. All the tissue down to the surface of the lamina portion of the lumbar vertebra bone is anesthetized. A thicker needle is then slid through the anesthetized track.

Fluoroscopic Guidance

Using a fluoroscope for guidance, the physician slides the needle toward the epidural space between the vertebrae. A contrast solution is injected. The physician uses the fluoroscope to confirm the correct location of the needle tip.

Steroids Injected

A steroid-anesthetics mix is injected into the epidural space, bathing the painful nerve root with soothing medication.

Post Procedure

The needle is removed, and a small bandage is applied to cover the tiny needle surface wound. In some cases, it may be necessary to repeat the procedure as many as three times to get the full benefit of the medication. Many patients get significant relief from only one or two injections.