Image Guided Spinal Injections

Berkshire Imaging Consultant Radiologists routinely perform a range of image guided spine injections and procedures. These are carried out using specialist imaging equipment for very precise needle positioning to accurately target particular areas within the spine. We are increasingly using CT guidance for our injections as this allows the most precise needle placement and 3D visualisation of important adjacent structures, particularly useful in the neck.

In general terms, patients are referred for spine 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 particularly joint or nerve root within the spine. 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 spinal injections is variable: if successful, 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 mixed with a long acting local anaesthetic is then injected. Sometimes, a contrast medium (dye) is utilised to confirm the needle tip position. Occasionally a sedative is recommended as well, although, if patients prefer, we are happy to arrange a sedative for any spinal injection.

Spine injections are generally very low risk procedures. 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. Some injections have rare, but potentially serious complications - the Consultant Radiologist carrying out your procedure will discuss these with you.

For most spine injections, we do ask for patients to discontinue blood thinning medication e.g. Warfarin, Dabigatran, Rivaroxaban, or Clopidogrel. 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 withhold your medication prior to the injection.

Some commonly performed spinal injections include the following:

  • CT or xray guided facet joint injection
  • CT or xray guided nerve root (foraminal/nerve root block)
  • CT or xray guided sacroiliac joint

Other spinal procedures:

Further Information

Patient information sheet

If you would like any further information about being referred for or having a spinal injection or procedure, 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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