An interlaminar epidural injection is an injection into the spinal canal usually done to treat lower back and/or leg symptoms related to spinal canal narrowing or degenerative disease. Using X-ray guidance, we will inject an anesthetic and steroid into the tissues surrounding the spinal canal to help relieve your symptoms.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY EXAM?
- Wear comfortable clothing
- You must have a driver accompany you to this appointment.
- You must have had an MRI or CT within the past 24 months.
- If you’ve had recent surgery, but not updated your images, please inform the booking coordinator prior to injection
- If you are on blood thinners, please let us know.
- If you have diabetes, please eat one hour before your appointment.
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY EXAM?
- We will provide you with a comfortable clinic gown to change into.
- A technologist will go over your consent form, explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have before escorting you to the treatment suite where you will be greeted by the radiologist.
- The radiologist will clean the skin and inject a local anesthetic, similar to the freezing you would get at the dentist.
- The needle is then positioned under X-ray guidance and the correct location on the body is confirmed. To double-check the location, a short-acting anesthetic is injected in conjunction with neurologic testing. Once proper needle position is confirmed, the therapeutic medication is then injected.
- It is possible you will feel pain or pressure similar to your normal back pain as the medicine is injected. This is a good sign and means the medicine is going to the right place. The pain usually disappears quickly.
- A Band-Aid will be placed at the injection site, then you will be transferred to a wheelchair and brought into another room.
- After 15 minutes, you will be checked for the expected injection response. If you are able to stand and walk safely, you will be free to leave with your driver.
- Avoid strenuous activities for 3-5 days.
- For safety reasons, no driving for 24 hours after your exam.
- Leave the Band-Aid on and don't shower for 24 hours after the exam; avoid tubs and pools for at least 48 hours.
- A mild increase in blood sugar levels may be noticed in patients with diabetes, which can last several days or up to one week.
- If you were on anti-coagulation therapy or blood thinners prior to the procedure and they were temporarily stopped, please restart them as discussed.
WHEN WILL I SEE RESULTS?
- The injection includes a long-lasting local anesthetic (freezing) so your relief may be immediate. The pain can return as the freezing wears off and before the other medication takes effect. The steroid typically takes, on average, 2-10 days to start working and may take up to a week to take full effect.
- Results vary from weeks to months depending on the joint or body part involved, severity of the disease, and the cause of your pain. Some patients get complete relief that is permanent, while others have no significant effect.
- Pain injections are both therapeutic (treat symptoms) and diagnostic (identify the cause of your pain). If an injection does not help relieve your pain, then you may need further evaluation.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
This exam is covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan. It is not currently offered at our Saskatchewan clinic.
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