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Pain Physician. 2016 Nov-Dec;19(8):E1139-E1146.

The Safety of CT-Guided Epidural Steroid Injections in an Older Patient Cohort.

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Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.



Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are a common method for treating lower back pain, which is one of the most prevalent health-related complaints in the adult US population. Although the safety of CT-guided ESIs has been extensively studied in adults, there is limited data concerning the procedure's safety profile in an older patient population.


This retrospective study analyzed safety data among a single-center cohort of patients > 65 years-old who received one or more CT-guided interlaminar ESIs from 2012 to 2015.


An Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved retrospective chart review.


University hospital center.


A total of 688 CT-guided ESI procedures were evaluated and a linear regression analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between dose length product (DLP), body mass index (BMI), procedure duration, and kVp/mA settings. Further analysis was performed on a sample of long procedure time, average-DLP and high-DLP procedures.


Average age was 75.77 years, with 44% having a BMI > 30. The mean DLP was 55.58 mGy x cm and the mean procedure duration was 5.94 minutes. All procedures were technically successful and no complications were observed during or after any of the procedures, including at one-month follow-up office visits. The kVp and mA settings were the strongest predictors of DLP, followed by procedure time. The high-DLP cases had a greater number of needle placement series, more intervertebral disc spaces included in each planning series and higher machine settings (kVp 120; mA 87.5) than the average-DLP cases (kVp 100; mA 49.9).


This study is limited by its retrospective design.


CT-guided interlaminar ESIs can be performed safely, with low procedure times, relatively low DLP's and without complications in an older patient population. Key words: Epidural steroid injection, interlaminar approach, CT-guidance, older adults, back pain, lumbar spine, thoracic spine, cervical spine, dose length product, radiation exposure.

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