Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection

What is a Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection?
    A Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection is the injection of a small amount of steroid into the epidural space in the thoracic spine area.  The epidural space is an area located outside of the spinal cord area.

Why is a Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection performed?
    A Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection may be performed if you have chest pain, upper back pain or pain following a case of shingles.  

Is there any preparation for the procedure?
     Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before your appointment. Please be sure to ask our office about discontinuing any blood thinners before this procedure. Please alert us if you have an iodine or seafood allergy. You will need a driver to drop you off and pick you up for this procedure.

What happens during the procedure?
     You will lie face down on the x-ray table. Your back will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution and the area will be numbed with local anesthetic. Using x-ray guidance, the Doctor will guide the placement of the needle into the epidural space. Once the correct placement is confirmed, the doctor will slowly inject the steroid. The medicine will “float” to coat nearby nerves.

    *You may feel some pressure in your back or some recreation of your pain symptoms with the injection. The medication will be inserted slowly in order to decrease your discomfort.

How long does the procedure take?
     An epidural steroid injection takes less than 10 minutes.

What are the contraindications for the procedure?
     You may experience bleeding problems or an infection at the site of injection.

Is there special care afterward?
     You will be observed for short time after the procedure. You will be given directions on when to come in after the procedure; generally about two weeks after a procedure you will be seen for a follow up appointment to decide further pain treatment.

REMEMBER:  You are NOT permitted to drive after your procedure.  You MUST have someone to drive you home or the procedure will be cancelled.