Image Guided Joint and Soft Tissue Injections

Berkshire Imaging Consultant Radiologists routinely perform a range of image guided joint injections. These are carried out using specialist imaging equipment for very precise needle tip placement to accurately target the joint itself or an adjacent structure, using X-ray, ultrasound or CT guidance. Your clinical consultant will refer you to us for image guided injections to ensure that the treatment is placed into the precise location, therein also avoiding injury to any closely related structures.

In general terms, patients are referred for joint injections for two reasons: diagnostic and therapeutic. Firstly, as a diagnostic test to confirm whether the pain or other symptoms that they are experiencing are arising from a particular joint, tendon or other structure. This can help guide any further investigations or treatment.

Secondly, as a therapeutic measure to help improve the pain or other symptoms. The duration of the beneficial effect is variable: most injections give relief for an average of three to six months, sometimes longer and typically can be repeated.

The Radiologist uses a strict aseptic technique to minimise the risk of infection. A local anaesthetic is used to numb the area of concern and a corticosteroid is then injected. Sometimes, when using x-ray guidance, a contrast medium (dye) is utilised to confirm the needle tip position.

Joint injections are a very low risk procedure. The needles used are extremely fine, so injury to adjacent structures is rare. As with any needle placed into the body, there is a low risk of bleeding or infection, but both of these are fortunately rare, in particular because of the extended medical training that Radiologists undergo.

For some injections, we do ask for patients to discontinue blood thinning medication e.g. warfarin, dabigatran or rivaroxaban. If you are taking any of these drugs, please contact Berkshire Imaging if you have not been given instructions by your referring specialist on whether to withold your medication prior to the injection.

Following the injection, it can be useful to keep a diary record of how your symptoms feel over the next few weeks, so that you can inform the specialist who referred you to us.

Some commonly performed sites for guided injections include the following:

CT guided:

  • facet joint (spine)
  • sacroiliac joint

X-ray guided:

  • wrist and hand
  • hip
  • ankle and foot

Ultrasound guided:

  • shoulder (subacromial bursa)
  • hip (greater trochanteric bursa, gluteal or psoas tendons)
  • wrist and hand joints and tendons
  • knee (pes anserine bursa)
  • ankle and foot joints and tendons

Further Information

Patient information sheet

If you would like any further information about being referred for or having a joint injection, please contact Berkshire Imaging.

Berkshire Imaging LLP . The Forbury Clinic . 23 Craven Road . Reading . Berkshire . RG1 5LE . Telephone: 0118 921 3177
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