Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection
A thoracic epidural steroid injection is an outpatient procedure that temporarily reduces pain in the upper and middle parts of the back (the thoracic region). Thoracic epidural steroid injections are effective in providing pain relief for several back conditions, including spinal nerve injuries, disk herniation, and spinal stenosis.
Before the procedure, the patient will sit or lie down so the back is easily accessible. The back is sterilized and a local anesthetic is used to numb the injection site down to the spinal column.
An x-ray device called a fluoroscope is used to guide the needle to the affected vertebra. The needle is then inserted carefully into the epidural location (near the spinal cord), and contains a steroid/anesthetic mixture developed to reduce pain and inflammation. In order to ensure the needle is positioned correctly, a contrast solution may be used.
Once the needle is removed, the injection location is bandaged. Pain relief is usually experienced within three to five days of the procedure. In some cases, multiple injections may be required for optimal effectiveness.