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What can I expect to happen during a spinal injection procedure?

The actual injection takes only a few minutes, but plan on 30 to 60 minutes for the whole spinal injection procedure. You will remain awake and able to communicate the entire time. Your procedure will include the following:
  • Monitoring. You may have monitoring devices attached to you to check your heart rate and breathing.
  • Sedative. You may be given a sedative to help you relax.
  • Position. You may lie face down, face up, or on your side.
  • Local anesthetic. You'll be given a local anesthetic near the injection site to numb the skin. This usually feels like a pinprick with some burning, and only lasts a second.
  • Fluoroscopic x-ray guidance. The doctor may inject a contrast dye. On a fluoroscopic x-ray, the dye helps identify specific parts of your spine and confirm the correct placement of the needle.
  • Injection. Numbing medications or anti-inflammatory medications (steroids) will be injected into your spine.
The spinal injection procedure is usually brief, but your position during the procedure is important to make the injection go smoothly with the least discomfort to you. You may have monitoring devices attached to you during the procedure to check your heart rate and breathing.
  • Your skin will be cleaned with a sterilizing solution and a sterile drape will be placed over your skin.
  • Conscious sedation (use of a calming drug while you are awake) may be used if your doctor feels it is appropriate.
  • Local anesthetic (lidocaine) is usually given near the injection site to numb the skin. This typically feels like a pin prick and some burning, like a bee sting.
  • Fluoroscopy (x-ray imaging) is often used for precise placement of the injection. Contrast dye may be injected to confirm the correct placement of the needle.
  • A local anesthetic for numbing (for example, lidocaine, bupivicaine) and/or steroids (to reduce inflammation) are injected.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.