What are the benefits and risks of fluoroscopically guided corticosteroid injections in 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

Engel et al conducted a systematic literature review to study the effectiveness and risks of fluoroscopically guided cervical transforaminal injection of corticosteroids in the treatment of radicular pain. [32] The researchers found evidence that suggests that approximately 50% of patients experience 50% relief of radicular pain for at least 4 weeks after cervical transforaminal injection of steroids (CTFIS), and the intervention may have surgery-sparing effects. The literature also contained 21 articles that report complications, including 13 deaths and many catastrophic neurological injuries. The authors concluded that in patients with cervical radicular pain, fluoroscopically guided CTFIS may be effective in easing pain and reducing need for surgery. However, the evidence of effectiveness is of very low quality, and the benefits of the procedure are compromised by the risks of serious complications. [32]


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