After you arrive for your appointment, you will be escorted to a procedure room, where you will be asked to change into a patient gown. An intravenous line will be placed in your arm so that blood can be easily withdrawn when needed. You will be positioned on an exam table, and fluoroscopy (“real-time” X-ray) will be used to determine the most appropriate needle entry site. The radiologist will clean the overlying skin, and a small amount of local anesthetic (lidocaine) will be injected with a small needle. You will feel a tiny pinch similar to a pinprick while the anesthetic is injected.
After the area becomes numb, the radiologist will insert a needle into the spinal canal while observing under fluoroscopy to ensure proper placement. After the needle has been properly positioned, a small amount of contrast material will be injected to confirm the needle tip is properly positioned in the epidural space before any blood is injected. After this is confirmed, blood will be withdrawn from the IV in your arm and injected into the epidural space. The needle will then be removed. A bandage will be placed over the insertion site, and you will be transported to the recovery area.
The contrast agent is an iodine-based material. Radiology Ltd. uses only non-ionic contrast agents (the safest kind), but with all contrast agents there is always the potential for allergic reaction. Be sure to tell your technologist if you have experienced a reaction to contrast material in the past.
After being monitored for a short time, you will be released with discharge instructions. The entire procedure usually takes about 30-45 minutes.
For your safety and the protection of others, we do not allow anyone other than patients in our exam rooms.