CT Guided Spinal Injections
The spine is made up of a column of nerves that are protected and branch out from within a series of bones arranged one above the other. Spinal nerve compression may be caused by wear and tear of the spine (osteoarthritis), bulging of spinal disks (spongy disks between the bones of the spinal cord) and bony overgrowths. A CT-guided spinal injection is an injection guided by live CT imaging to treat neck, back or leg pain caused by the compression of spinal nerves. Affected spinal nerves are accurately located and injected with a medication that contains a local anaesthetic that reduces pain and a steroid that reduces inflammation. A CT-guided spinal injection is usually elected when other conservative treatment options have failed. It is sometimes administered for diagnostic purposes to identify the source of pain.
CT-guided spinal injection is an outpatient procedure. You will lie face down on a CT table. The site to be injected is identified and cleaned with antiseptic. Three-dimensional live CT imaging helps your doctor guide a fine needle into the target area. The injection may be administered between the vertebrae (facet joint injection), around nerves exiting the spine (perineural injection) or in the space around the spinal cord (epidural injection). The procedure takes about 15-30 minutes depending on the number of areas to be treated.
You may experience some burning with the injection, which may last a few minutes. Let your doctor know if pain is unusually intense or prolonged. Following the procedure, you may experience some soreness and numbness at the injection site. Pain relief with the injection may vary with some patients experiencing instant relief that lasts for weeks to months, while others may require a second injection. You are asked to follow up with your doctor who will assess and modify treatment as necessary.
Risks of a CT-guided spine injection are rare and include bleeding, infection into the epidural space, nerve injury and leakage of fluid surrounding the spinal cord, which can cause headaches.