Study on the functional outcome of fluoroscopically guided transforaminal epidural steroid injections in patients suffering from lumbar disc herniation

S. Natarajan, Anjan Venkataraman Krishnamurthy, R. Kalanithi, M. D. Ilavarasan


Background: Intervertebral disc herniation of the lumbar region is one of the common causes of acute low back ache and lower extremity pain. While multiple treatment modalities exist, the efficacy of the usage of a transforaminal steroid injection as a tool to either alleviate pain or delay surgery needs to be further evaluated. The aim of this study is to determine the functional outcome of patients suffering from lumbar disc herniation treated with fluroscopically-guided transforaminal epidural steroid injections.

Methods: This is a prospective case study in which total of 43 patients were included in the study dating between August 2014 and July 2015. These patients were evaluated and identified with lumbar disc herniation, confirmed with a magnetic resonance imaging prior to the procedure. A pre-injection VAS score was taken. These patients were administered TFESI under fluoroscopic guidance using 2ml of 40mg of Methylprednisolone with 1 ml of 2% xylocaine. They were then evaluated during follow up at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 6 months. Their pain outcome was evaluated using the VAS (visual analog scale) scores and functional outcome was evaluated using Oswestry disability index (ODI).

Results: All patients showed significant improvement in the VAS score during their regular follow up when compared to their pre injection levels. Patient satisfaction was the high at 2 weeks post operatively slightly declining over time. 3 patients underwent surgery during the follow up period. The ODI scores also showed significant improvements when compared to the pre injection scores at all follow up periods

Conclusions: TFESI provides significant short-term pain relief in patients suffering from a single level lumbar herniated disc and is a viable, effective short-term analgesic tool to address pain and may retard an early surgical intervention.


TFESI, Fluoroscopic guided injection, Lumbar disc, ODI score

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