Lumbar Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection

A lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injection is an injection of anti-inflammatory medication into the epidural space where the nerve exits the spine. This procedure is effective in relieving pain in the upper back, ribs, and abdomen caused by a pinched nerve or nerves in the thoracic spine. 

Step One

Before the procedure, the patient will be asked to lie on the stomach so the injection area at the spine can be accessed easily. This region will be numbed with an injection of local anesthetic. 

Step Two

In order to guide the needle to the painful area of the spine with precision, an x-ray device called a fluoroscope will be used to insert the needle into the region where the spinal nerves travel (neural foramen space). Contrast dye will then be injected into the space to ensure the needle is reaching the irritated nerve or nerves. Finally, a combination of anesthetic and cortisone steroid solution is injected into the foramen space. Once the medication absorbs into the inflamed nerves, patients will experience a decrease in swelling and pressure.

Step Three

After the injection, the needle is removed and a bandage is placed over the skin. Pain relief is usually noticeable within three days of the injection. In some patients, more than one injection may be necessary to relieve significant pain relief.