Caudal Epidural Steroid Injection

This outpatient procedure is an injection of a steroid-anesthetic medication through an opening in the sacrum. The medication can reduce swelling and inflammation of irritated spinal nerves. The injection takes only a few minutes to complete.

How is the procedure performed?

A Caudal Epidural Steroid Injection begins with the patient lying face down. A cushion will be placed under the abdomen to elevate the sacrum. The procedure begins with a local anesthetic to numb the skin and the tissue near the sacrum. After the anesthetic has taken effect, the physician guides a needle into the caudal epidural space.

A contrast solution is injected through the needle. A fluoroscope (x-ray device) is used to confirm that the needle is positioned correctly. They physician then injects a steroid-anesthetic medication to immerse the irritated nerve roots, which will relieve the patient’s pain.

When the procedure is complete, the physician removes the needle and bandages the insertion site. The patient may feel significant relief after one injection. Some patients may need multiple injections before they feel the full benefit of the medication.

What are the risks?

As with most procedures, there is a small risk of infection, bleeding, nerve damage and allergic reactions to medications used.

Will the injection hurt?

Many people experience a little stinging at the local anesthetic injection site, although each patient’s experience will vary. Some people experience pressure when the medicine is being injected into the epidural space.

How will I feel after the injection?

Your pain should reduce within the first 1-2 hours after the injection until the local anesthetic wears off. There may be some discomfort at the injection site. This is normal and should last between 24-48 hours. Ice packs may help reduce inflammation during this time. The injection normally takes effect 3-5 days after the procedure. A normal injection series consists of three procedures over the course of one year.

Will I have any restrictions on the day of the procedure?

It is recommended that the patient be driven to and from the appointment for a cervical epidural steroid injection. Most patients can walk around right after the procedure. We do recommend that the patient take it easy for a few days after the injection.

When should I call my doctor?

If you have severe back pain, new numbness or weakness in your legs, or signs of infection at the injection site (redness, swelling or bleeding), you should contact us.