Indexed on: 07 Mar '15Published on: 07 Mar '15Published in: Scandinavian journal of rheumatology
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of cervical epidural steroid injection (CESI) in the management of cervical disc herniations with radiculopathy.We conducted a prospective interventional study with a 1-year follow-up comprising 33 consecutive patients presenting symptoms of cervicobrachial pain; positive neurological signs; corresponding cervical disc herniation/protrusion as verified by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); insufficient improvement on prior conservative therapy; and no claims for financial compensation. Symptoms and clinical findings were registered in validated questionnaires before the procedure. Blind midline interlaminar CESI at the level of disc herniation was administered utilizing the loss of resistance (LOR) technique. Outcome was assessed during the first 3 months by telephone interview or clinical examination and final outcome measures were obtained at 1 year using validated questionnaires.The study included 20 men (60%) and 13 women (40%); median age was 51 (range 30-63) years. Median duration of neck and arm pain was 72 (7-450) and 64 (5-443) days, respectively. On average, patients received 1.7 CESIs (range 1-3). Sixteen patients (49%) had only one injection. All 33 patients were potentially surgical candidates. Only two (6%) needed surgical intervention during follow-up. There was significant improvement in pain intensity and functional outcome. Intake of analgesics was significantly reduced. Eighty-two per cent would say 'yes' to receiving the same treatment again. No serious adverse events were observed.CESI appears to be a safe and efficient part of the treatment of patients with symptomatic cervical disc herniations and may be considered before patients are referred to surgery.