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Lumbar Epidural Injection: Your Procedure

Lumbar Epidural Injection: Your Procedure

A lumbar epidural injection is an outpatient procedure. It’s often done in a hospital or an outpatient surgery center. Before your injection, your healthcare provider will discuss how you need to prepare.

Getting Ready

You may need to prepare by doing the following:

  • Give the doctor a list of all medicines you take, including aspirin and anti-inflammatories. (You may need to stop taking some of them before the injection.)

  • Don’t eat 6 hours before check-in, or drink anything 4 hours before.

  • Arrange for an adult friend or family member to drive you home afterward.

  • Bring any requested x-ray, CT, or MRI images on the day of the procedure.

Patient lying on stomach under x-ray machine. Two healthcare providers in lead aprons are preparing machine and to give injection in patient's back.

During the Procedure

The injection takes just a few minutes. But extra time is needed to get ready. You may be given medicine before the injection to help you relax.

  • Monitoring devices may be attached to your chest or side. These devices measure your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.

  • You lie on your stomach or side, depending on where the injection will be given. Your back is cleaned and may be covered with sterile towels.

  • Medicine is given to numb the skin near the injection site.

  • If fluoroscopy (x-ray imaging) is to be used, a contrast “dye” may be injected into your back. This helps get a better image.

  • A local anesthetic (for numbing), steroids (for reducing inflammation), or both are injected into the epidural space.

After the Procedure

You’ll spend up to an hour in a recovery area. Before going home, you may be asked to fill out another survey about your pain.


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