How effective are translaminar and transforaminal epidural corticosteroid injections for the treatment of acute cervical radiculopathy?

Updated: Oct 08, 2018
  • Author: Gerard A Malanga, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Answer

Studies have reported favorable results with translaminar and transforaminal epidural corticosteroid injections. These studies have shown up to 60% long-term relief of radicular pain and neck pain and a return of the patients to their usual activities. Complications from these procedures are rare, but some case studies show that complications can be catastrophic and include severe sequelae from spinal cord or brainstem infarction. SNRBs can be helpful in patients with electrodiagnostically demonstrated single-root lesions. [31] This has rarely been necessary in the author's experience. In general, the vast majority of patients with cervical radiculopathy can be successfully managed without the need for injections. They should be reserved for the patient with persistent radicular pain who has not responded to a course of oral medications, active physical therapy, and relative rest. There is no indication for performing these injections in a “series”. In the majority of casesonly1-2injectionsarenecessary to reduce the nerve root inflammation and progress the patient on an active exercise program.


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