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Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injections (Transforaminal ESI)


A transforaminal epidural steroid injection (transforaminal ESI) places pain-relieving medicines into the neural foramen, the space between vertebrae where spinal nerve roots exit to other parts of the body. The injection combines a local anesthetic for immediate pain relief with a corticosteroid for greater comfort in the long-term. An effective treatment for a variety of conditions that cause pain, corticosteroids reduce inflammation and swelling, which lessens pressure on soft tissues and nerves.

Procedure Details and Expectations

This procedure takes place in our office and generally takes less than half an hour. You’ll remain awake and receive a local anesthetic, so you’ll feel no discomfort during the treatment. The doctor will use fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray) to see exactly where to place the needle and confirm placement with radiographic contrast (dye). Afterwards, you’ll rest for about 20 minutes while we monitor your condition, then you’re free to go home (have someone drive you) to take it easy for the rest of the day. You may feel a little drowsy or experience some numbness or tingling for a few hours… this is normal. You should be able to return to normal activity the next day.

How to Prepare for Treatment

Because this is a non-surgical procedure, little preparation is needed. You can have a light meal several hours before the treatment and may take your usual medications. EXCEPTION: we may instruct you to discontinue taking blood thinners and/or anti-inflammatory medications before your transforaminal ESI. We’ll discuss that before scheduling the procedure.

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