Transforaminal Epidural Injections for Pain Management

Transforaminal epidural injections are a type of procedure that involves injecting a mixture of a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid medication into the epidural space around the spinal cord. They are typically used to treat pain that originates from the spine, such as radicular pain (pain that radiates from the spine to the limbs) or back pain. 

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Transforaminal Epidural Injections Treated Conditions

  • Sciatica – Sciatica is a medical condition characterized by pain, numbness, and weakness in the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, through the buttocks and down the lower limb.  
  • Herniated discs – A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc or a ruptured disc, is a condition in which the gel-like center of a spinal disc (a structure that separates and cushions the vertebrae in the spine) protrudes through a crack or tear in the outer layer of the disc. This can cause the disc to press on the spinal cord or nerve roots.
  • Slipped vertebrae – A slipped vertebrae occurs when one vertebra slips forward over another. This can cause the spine to become misaligned and can lead to back pain and difficulty standing or walking. The condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including a congenital defect, degenerative changes in the spine, or a stress fracture.
  • Lower back and leg pain – Lower back and leg pain is a common condition that can affect people of all ages. There are a myriad of causes, but most acute (short term) pain can be attributed to overexertion, injury, or a specific event, such as lifting a heavy object or twisting awkwardly. 
  • Joint cysts – Joint cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop within a joint. They are commonly found in the knee, but they can also occur in the hip, elbow, and wrist. Joint cysts are often benign and do not cause any symptoms, but they can sometimes cause pain or interfere with joint function. The cause of joint cysts is not well understood, but they are thought to be related to degenerative changes in the joint or a previous injury. 
  • Bone spurs – Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are small, bony growths that can develop along the edges of bones. They are most commonly found in the spine, hands, and feet, and are often associated with degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis. 
  • Thickening ligaments in the spine because of spinal arthritis – Thickening ligaments in the spine are a common finding on imaging studies such as x-rays or MRI scans. This usually refers to an increase in the size or thickness of the ligaments that support the spine. The presence of thickened ligaments does not necessarily mean that there is a problem. In many cases, thickening ligaments are benign and do not cause any symptoms. 

Why Lonseth Interventional Pain Centers?

At New Orleans’ Lonseth Interventional Pain Centers, our double board-certified doctors are experienced in providing Transforaminal Epidural Injections treatment. We proudly use the latest technology and procedures to ensure maximum patient comfort and effectiveness. Our objective is to provide the best possible care for our New Orleans and Metairie patients. 

Transforaminal Epidural Injections FAQ

Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injections work by delivering a steroid medication directly into the epidural space in the spine through a small needle. They can provide short-term relief for up to several months and can be repeated to provide more long-term relief. 

The main difference between a standard epidural injection and a transforaminal epidural injection is the location of the needle placement. A standard epidural injection is typically given in the middle of the back, while a transforaminal epidural injection is given through a specific opening on the side of the spine. The type of injection that is best for a particular patient will depend on the specific location and cause of their pain.

A transforaminal epidural injection is usually not painful, as the area is numbed with a local anesthetic before the injection is given. You may feel a slight sting when the local anesthetic is injected, but the procedure itself should not be painful. Following the procedure, you may feel some soreness or tenderness at the injection site for a few days, but this should resolve on its own.

Your doctor will ask you to lie on your stomach on an examination table. Your doctor will clean the area of your back where the injection will be given and may use a local anesthetic to numb the skin. Imaging techniques, such as fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray) or CT scan will be used to guide the needle to the correct location in the epidural space. Once the needle is in place, the doctor will inject the corticosteroid and anesthetic medications. The procedure typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour. 

Transforaminal Epidural Injections are generally considered to be safe and effective, but as with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects, such as tenderness at the injection site, infection, bleeding, or nerve damage. Your doctor will carefully consider these risks and discuss them with you before proceeding with the injection. 

Some people may experience relief from their pain immediately after the injection, while others may not notice any improvement until a few days later. In some cases, it may take up to a week or more for the full effects of the injection to be felt. 

After the procedure, you should follow your doctor’s instructions and avoid any activities that could increase your risk of bleeding or infection. This may include avoiding strenuous activities or exercise for a few days, as well as avoiding activities that involve heavy lifting or straining. You should also avoid driving or operating heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after the procedure, or longer if you are taking pain medication or if you feel drowsy or impaired in any way.

The length of time that a transforaminal epidural steroid injection will last can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the specific type and dose of medication used, the underlying cause of the pain, and the individual patient’s response to the treatment. In general, transforaminal epidural steroid injections are not intended to provide long-term pain relief, but rather to help manage pain on a short-term basis.