- Cervical Spine Epidural Steroid Injection interlaminar prone medical-legal exhibit 3D animations. This movie illustrates the pain management technique for performing a cervical interlaminar epidural injection in the prone position. This movie shows patient positioning, skin preparation, local anesthetic injection, needle introduction into the epidural space, contrast injection to check needle tip position in the epidural space, steroid / anesthetic injection, and finally wound dressing. Cervical Spine Epidural Steroid Injection interlaminar prone medical-legal exhibit 3D animations.

An epidural injection is used to inject medication into the epidural space around irritated spinal nerves. Spinal nerves can be irritated by herniated or degenerative discs, facet joint osteophytes, enlarged ligaments or traumatic or infectious inflammation. The injected medication can include local anesthetic, slow-release anti-inflammatory steroid and opioid pain-relieving medication. Epidural injections can be diagnostic or therapeutic. The amount of immediate pain relief from the local anesthetic is diagnostic of the degree to which the nerves are a source of your pain. This information will assist with the selection of further treatment options. Once the source of the pain is known, therapeutic injections can be given to provide pain relief. Steroids act as an anti-inflammatory to decrease pain and swelling. Opioids increase the pain relief. In addition, the injection fluid also helps to flush out inflammatory pain-causing proteins. The injection can provide ongoing pain relief so that a rehabilitation program can be undertaken.

Cervical Spine Epidural Steroid Injection interlaminar prone medical-legal exhibit 3D animations.
The indications for an epidural injection are
– to assist in the identification of the cause of neck or arm pain
– to provide relief of pain caused by disease of the intervertebral disc, spinal nerve root, or adjacent structures.

The non-surgical alternatives to epidural injection may be
– activity modification
– weight loss
– aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling, and swimming
– strength and flexibility exercises
– physical therapy
– hydrotherapy
– heat and cold pads
– acupuncture
– oral pain-relieving medications such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, glucosamine, chondroitin

The surgical alternatives to epidural injection may be
– pain management injections or ablations
– surgical decompression or possibly fusion
– disc replacement surgery
– oral steroid medication (may not be as effective).

It is your right to delay or refuse the recommended treatment for your condition. However, this delay or refusal may lead to the worsening of your symptoms, such as increased neck pain, arm pain, pins and needles, weakness or numbness. You should ask your doctor what might happen should you choose not to undertake the recommended treatment.

Cervical Spine Epidural Steroid Injection interlaminar prone medical-legal exhibit 3D animations.
Before the epidural injection
- cease blood thinners as instructed ie coumadin/warfarin, plavix, heparin, aspirin
- let your doctor know all the medications you are taking including herbal medications that can increase bleeding risk ie vitamin E, glucosamine, chamomile, danshen, garlic, gingko, devil’s claw, ginseng, fish oil, willow bark, feverfew, and goji berries
- you should take your routine medications, but stop any pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medication for the day. You need to have some pain, so you can assess whether the injection gives you any pain relief.
- you will be admitted into the hospital on the day of the procedure
- bring your radiological images and reports ie X-rays, CTs, MRIs
- don't eat or drink for a few hours before the procedure.
- wear loose-fitting clothes that are easy to take off and put on. Do not wear any jewelry.
- before the procedure, the skin on your neck will be cleaned and you will be given a general health check. The skin on your neck may be shaved.
- an intra-venous line may be placed in to a vein in your arm to administer fluid and medications
- let your doctor know if you develop a fever, cold or flu symptoms before your scheduled procedure.

The goal of an epidural steroid injection is to provide pain relief by reducing the inflammation of the nerve roots as they leave the spine. An epidural steroid injection will not correct the pre-existing medical problem but may provide enough pain relief so that psychology, physical therapy and pharmacologic management can be optimized.

Cervical Spine Epidural Steroid Injection interlaminar prone medical-legal exhibit 3D animations.
Your will be sitting upright. Your skin will be cleaned. A small needle will be used to inject some local anesthetic to numb the skin. This may sting for a couple of seconds. The epidural needle is inserted from behind, between two vertebrae, into the epidural space. Fluoroscopy, an X-ray TV, is often used to help guide the needle to the correct location. Some contrast dye may be injected to check the exact position of the needle tip using fluoroscopy. Then the medication will be injected into the epidural space, the needle removed and a small bandage placed on the skin.

Smoking damages every part of your body and decreases the chance of a successful procedure. If you smoke, you should stop now.

The expectations of the procedure are
– the procedure will take about ten to thirty minutes
– immediately after the injection of local anesthetic, you should feel that your pain is much less
– your arms and hands may feel weak or numb for a few hours
– after a few hours, your pain will return and you may have a sore neck for a couple of days. This is due to the needle insertion. Simple pain relief and ice packs for ten minutes every couple of hours will help.
– about half of clients receive longer term pain relief from a steroid injection. It will take two to ten days for the pain relief to commence. The relief may be permanent, or temporary, but it will permit a rehabilitation program to be commenced.
– clients with shorter symptom duration tend to achieve better pain relief that also tends to last for longer.

Rehabilitation from an epidural injection
- you will be observed for half to one hour before being discharged
– you may have slight bruising from the needle, this will settle
– take your usual medication as required.
– take simple pain relief medication if required. You can ice the area for up to ten minutes every couple of hours for additional pain relief. Use ice cubes or frozen peas in a damp towel.
– you are usually discharged to home on the same day. You will need to be taken home and supervised for the rest of the day by a friend.
– you will be able to resume your normal activities the following day, however no driving or operating heavy machinery for twenty-four hours
– you can remove the bandage after twenty-four hours and wash as usual
– check your wound twice a day. If you notice any redness, swelling, green or yellow discharge, or opening of the wound, see your family doctor immediately and call your surgeon
– you may be asked to complete a pain diary for the next week to help your doctor assess the benefits of the injection
– you will have a follow-up appointment with your doctor to assess the effect of the injection, and to determine future treatment.

You have a weak spot in your neck, and surgery can never return it to full strength. You will need to engage in lifelong neck care to reduce the risk of further neck problems. You should always maintain correct posture, lose any excess body fat, continue your daily exercise program and avoid unnecessary stresses on your neck.
Cervical Spine Epidural Steroid Injection interlaminar prone medical-legal exhibit 3D animations.

Accidental injection of medication into the spinal canal can cause an unexpected decrease in nerve function. The effect varies, depending on the type and amount of medication, and its location in the spinal canal. The effect will eventually wear off. If the effect is in the upper neck, it can interfere with breathing and may require breathing assistance.

Adhesive arachnoiditis is a rare complication of cervical surgery. It starts as an inflammation of the arachnoid membrane surrounding the spinal cord and nerve roots. It can be triggered by surgery, trauma such as a dural tear (membrane around spinal cord), chemical irritants such as radiographic contrast dye (mainly older ones), infection or hemorrhage. The inflammation can lead to scar tissue and adhesions that stick the nerve roots together. This tension on the nerve roots interferes with local blood flow and nerve function, leading to back or leg pain, numbness, cramps and stiffness. Arachnoiditis often develops gradually, over one to six or more months. There is no cure. The treatment is physical therapy and pain management medications and techniques.

It is normal for some of the steroid medication injected into joints or muscles to spread around the body. This can cause a decrease in the adrenal gland's production of adrenal steroid hormones, called adrenal suppression, and a decrease in the size and capacity of the adrenal glands, called adrenal atrophy. This effect depends on the number of steroid doses, the amount of each dose, and the type of steroid used. When the steroid injections cease, the decreased adrenal hormone production can appear. It is particularly noticeable during times of stress when the normal 'fight or flight' mechanism fails to activate. Symptoms of adrenal suppression include fatigue, anxiety, depression, muscle pain and tenderness, joint pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. Similarly, if you take steroids regularly, you should not stop them suddenly, as you can reveal your underlying adrenal suppression, causing an ‘addisonian crisis’ – severe vomiting and diarrhoea, low blood pressure/sugar, tiredness, confusion, fainting, convulsions, fever, death.

An allergic reaction to the medications used can occur. This can cause a rash, swelling of the eyelids, hands, joints and throat, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure and death. These reactions are easily controlled with the right equipment and medications.

Anesthesia is used so you will feel no pain during the procedure. Anaesthesia can be
Local – where the medication is injected into the skin around the site of the surgery to numb only surrounding tissues
Regional – where the body part is anesthetized by numbing a major nerve or part of the spinal cord.
Conscious sedation – where a full anesthetic is not given, rather, medications are used to create a near-sleep relaxed state.
General – where you are rendered unconscious and temporarily paralyzed. In this instance, medication is given to you through an IV line, and machines breath for you and monitor you, along with your Anesthesiologist. Most epidural injections use a local anesthesia, so that you won’t feel pain during the procedure.

The vertebral artery passes close to the vertebral bodies in the neck. Injury during surgery is uncommon. Laceration causes bleeding that can usually be controlled by topical agents, repair or blockage of the artery. If the blood supply to the brain from the other vertebral artery is functioning, then full recovery is likely if the bleeding is quickly treated. Injury may however lead to paralysis or death.

Arteries are large blood vessels that can carry blood under pressure throughout the body. Your doctor will be very careful to avoid injuring arteries near your operation site. An artery perforation can result in significant bleeding and blood loss. This is very uncommon. If an artery is perforated, the artery can usually be repaired and the lost blood can be replaced by a blood transfusion. A specialist vascular surgeon is often asked to repair arteries. Late consequences of artery injury include fistula, hemorrhage, pseudo-aneurysm, thrombosis and emboli. Cervical Spine Epidural Steroid Injection interlaminar prone medical-legal exhibit 3D animations.

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