LUMBAR EPIDURAL
STEROID INJECTIONS (LESI)

Why is this procedure done?
LESI is a procedure used to treat pinched nerves or radicular pain. They work mostly on leg symptoms but can also help with back pain. The epidural injection may help the injury to heal by reducing inflammation. It may provide permanent relief or provide a temporary period of pain relief while the injury/cause of pain is healing. Often more than 1 injection is necessary to achieve a good level of pain relief.

How do I prepare for this procedure?
You should not eat for 4 hours before the procedure. You can take any routine medications before the procedure. You will need to bring a driver to take you home. If you have any changes in your medical condition or are feeling sick, you should contact our office to inform our staff. You should stop all blood thinners, such as: Coumadin, Plavix, aspirin and most arthritis medications. You should stop herbal medicines and supplements one week before the procedure.

What happens during this procedure?
For a LESI you will lie on the exam table on your stomach. Please stay as still as you can. The skin over the injection site is cleaned. A local anesthetic numbs the skin. After the numbing medicine has been given time to be effective, the physician directs a small needle, using x-ray guidance into epidural space. A contrast “dye” may be injected into the region to confirm the needle is in the epidural space. Then, a small mixture of numbing medicine (anesthetic) and anti-inflammatory (cortisone/steroid) is injected.

What are the side effects?
In general, an epidural steroid injection is a very safe procedure. Serious side effects or complications are rare with epidural steroid injections. However, similar to all injection procedures, although unlikely, adverse effects are possible. The most common complications include bleeding and bruising at the needle puncture site, post-procedure headaches, and lightheadedness or dizziness immediately following the procedure. Other very rare complications include but are not limited to epidural hematoma and infection. Please discuss any specific concerns with your physician.

What happens after this procedure?
After the procedure, you will be able to go home and rest. You may do desk or table level activities. You should not return to work until the next day. You will need a driver to take you home. If you are sore after the injection, you may apply ice to the area.

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