Spinal (Back & Neck) Injections

What is an injection?

Spinal Injections involve a Radiologist (specialist doctor) using CT to guide the injection of a needle containing a corticosteriod (“a steriod”) and/or local anesthetic into the area of interest within the spinal column or joint. This is usually used to help relieve back or muscle pain caused by arthritis, strain or impingement a nerve. In conjunction with your referring Doctor, the performing Radiologist will consider your clinical symptoms to determine the type and location to administer the injection.

It is important you make a booking for this procedure.

At the Time of Booking

Please tell us if you are:

  • pregnant
  • on blood thinners such as Warfarin/Aspirin and/or
  • if you are a diabetic.

Time

Please allow 45 mins to 1 hour for this procedure.

Preparation

  • Arrive 15 mins PRIOR to you booking time.
  • Please bring any previous films with you for comparison.

What To Expect

When you arrive you will be asked to complete a questionnaire and a consent form.

Once you are called, you will be asked to confirm your name, date of birth and what procedure you believe you are having performed that day.

Depending on what you are wearing, the radiographer may ask you to change into a gown, or remove any metal/ jewellery etc. that may interfere with the area being scanned. The radiographer will assist you into a comfortable positioned on the CT table and so that the area being examined is most accessible. Scans are taken to locate area of interest. The radiographer will usually draw on your skin in marker pen to pinpoint the area of interest for the Radiologist.

The skin is sterilised with antiseptic and local anaesthetic given. Once the skin is numb, a needle is guided into the region of interest followed by injection of local anaesthetic +/- steriod.

Risks

In general, these are very safe techniques and have a very low complication rate.

The most common complications of the procedure include bleeding or infection. However, since the procedure is performed under CT guidance and strict aseptic technique, the possibility of such complications are low. A full list of possible complications and risks will be provided to you prior to your examination upon arrive. It is important if you have any questions to discuss it them with the Radiologist or the technician prior to your examination starting.

Diabetic Patients

Patients with diabetes should carefully monitor their blood sugar as cortisone can cause a temporary rise in their levels. Patients taking insulin should be especially carefully, checking their blood sugar often and adjusting the insulin doses, if necessary.

After Your Examination

After a spinal injection, you are advised not to drive for the remainder of the day. You will need to arrange a driver or similar to take you home after the procedure.

Your injection may be associated with an increase in pain for up to 24 hours before it starts to settle down.

A little redness around the injection site is normal, however it is important if you experience any marked swelling, redness or considerable pain worse than before the procedure, you return to your GP.

Generally a steroid injection may take anywhere from 1-4 weeks to take effect.

Pain relief does vary from a few weeks through to a few years and occasionally the pain is reduced permanently.

Questions

We understand having a medical procedure can sometimes be a confusing and worrisome time. We are here to help you, so if you are unsure about any aspect relating to your examination, please raise your concerns with us at any time and we will do our best to assist you.

Your Images and Report

It is important that you make an appointment to return to your doctor after your visit with us. Whether the results are normal or abnormal, your doctor needs to correlate this with other information for further management.

Depending on your referrer’s preference(s), a copy of the report and images will be sent directly to your referring doctor within 2 business days. You may also be given a copy of your images on film or CD for your own records.

In urgent circumstances, our specialist will speak with your doctor directly by telephone the same day of your examination.

Digital copies of all studies are stored on our secured database for comparison with any future examinations.