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Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2008 Dec;1(3-4):212-22. doi: 10.1007/s12178-008-9035-2. Epub 2008 Aug 15.

Complications and pitfalls of lumbar interlaminar and transforaminal epidural injections.

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1
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Missouri- Columbia, USA. drspudhead@aol.com

Abstract

Lumbar interlaminar and transforaminal epidural injections are used in the treatment of lumbar radicular pain and other lumbar spinal pain syndromes. Complications from these procedures arise from needle placement and the administration of medication. Potential risks include infection, hematoma, intravascular injection of medication, direct nerve trauma, subdural injection of medication, air embolism, disc entry, urinary retention, radiation exposure, and hypersensitivity reactions. The objective of this article is to review the complications of lumbar interlaminar and transforaminal epidural injections and discuss the potential pitfalls related to these procedures. We performed a comprehensive literature review through a Medline search for relevant case reports, clinical trials, and review articles. Complications from lumbar epidural injections are extremely rare. Most if not all complications can be avoided by careful technique with accurate needle placement, sterile precautions, and a thorough understanding of the relevant anatomy and contrast patterns on fluoroscopic imaging.

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