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The effectiveness of ultrasound-guided cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections in cervical radiculopathy: a prospective pilot study

Authors Zhang X, Shi H, Zhou J, Xu Y, Pu S, Lv Y, Wu J, Cheng Y, Du D

Received 30 July 2018

Accepted for publication 10 December 2018

Published 31 December 2018 Volume 2019:12 Pages 171—177


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael A Überall

Xin Zhang,1,2 Haifeng Shi,1,3 Jin Zhou,1 Yongming Xu,1 Shaofeng Pu,1 Yingying Lv,1 Junzhen Wu,1 Yueping Cheng,1 Dongping Du1

1Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Management Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital, Shanghai, China; 2Center for Translational Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA; 3Department of Anesthesiology, Shanghai Fourth People’s Hospital, Shanghai, China

Background: Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injection (CTFESI) is used to provide pain relief and restore function in patients with cervical radiculopathy. Traditionally, it is performed under the guidance of fluoroscopy or computed tomography. Here, we introduce a novel technique – ultrasound-guided CTFESI – with which operators can easily distinguish the close soft tissue (nerve, vessels) around the cervical foramina to avoid intravascular injection during the procedure.
Objective: To present the immediate and long-term effectiveness of ultrasound-guided CTFESI in patients with cervical radiculopathy in an academic pain-management center with prospective clinic experiments.
Methods: Fifteen patients with cervical radiculopathy who were resistant to conservative therapies and ultrasound-guided selective cervical spinal nerve-root injections, were treated with ultrasound-guided CTFESI. During the injection procedures, the needle tips were reconfirmed by real-time fluoroscopy. Pain numeric rating-scale and neck-disability-index scores were assessed from onset to six months after the procedures.
Results: During the procedures, based on real-time fluoroscopic confirmation, the injection solution outlined the spinal nerve root and spread into the epidural space in most cases (14 of 15). All patients reported pain relief within 10 minutes after the injection. The majority of patients (eleven of 15) experienced pain relief and neck-disability index-score improvement throughout the 6-month study period. No patient experienced any complication.
Conclusion: We suggest that ultrasound-guided CTFESI is an effective, safe, and simple procedure free of radiation or magnetization and provides sustained pain relief in patients with cervical radiculopathy who have failed previous conservation therapies.

Keywords: cervical radiculopathy, ultrasound-guided, cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injection, steroid

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