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1.  Endoscopic Foraminal Decompression for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome under local Anesthesia 
Background
The most common causes of failed back surgery are residual or recurrent herniation, foraminal fibrosis and foraminal stenosis that is ignored, untreated, or undertreated. Residual back ache may also be from facetal causes or denervation and scarring of the paraspinal muscles.1–6 The original surgeon may advise his patient that nothing more can be done on the basis of his opinion that the nerve was visually decompressed by the original surgery, supported by improved post-op imaging and follow-up studies such as EMG and conduction velocity studies. Post-op imaging or electrophysiological assessment may be inadequate to explain all the reasons for residual or recurrent symptoms. Treatment of Failed back surgery by repeat traditional open revision surgery usually incorporates more extensive decompression causing increased instability and back pain, therefore necessitating fusion. The authors, having limited their practice to endoscopic MIS surgery over the last 15-20 years, report on their experience gained during that period to relieve pain by endoscopically visualizing and treating unrecognized causative patho-anatomy in FBSS.7
Methods
Thirty consecutive patients with FBSS presenting with back and leg pain that had supporting imaging diagnosis of lateral stenosis and /or residual / recurrent disc herniation, or whose pain complaint was supported by relief from diagnostic and therapeutic injections (Figure 1), were offered percutaneous transforaminal endoscopic discectomy and foraminoplasty over a repeat open procedure. Each patient sought consultation following a transient successful, partially successful or unsuccessful open translaminar surgical treatment for disc herniation or spinal stenosis. Endoscopic foraminoplasty was also performed to either decompress the bony foramen for foraminal stenosis, or foraminoplasty to allow for endoscopic visual examination of the affected traversing and exiting nerve roots in the axilla, also known as the “hidden zone” of Macnab (Figure 2).8, 9 The average follow up time was, average 40 months, minimum 12 months. Outcome data at each visit included Macnab, VAS and ODI.
A diagnostic and therapeutic epidural gram may help identify unrecognized lateral recess stenosis underestimated by MRI. An excellent result from a therapeutic block lends excellent prognosis for a more lasting and “permanent” result from transforaminal endoscopic lateral recess decompression.
Kambin's Triangle provides access to the “hidden zone” of Macnab by foraminoplasty. The foramen and lateral recess is decompressed by removing the ventral aspect and tip of the superior articular process to gain access to the axilla between the traversing and exiting nerve. FBSS contains patho-anatomy in the axilla between the traversing and exiting nerve that hides the pain generators of FBSS.
Results
The average pre-operative VAS improved from 7.2 to 4.0, and ODI 48% to 31%. While temporary dysesthesia occurred in 4 patients in the early post-operative period, all were happy, as all received additional relief of their pre-op symptoms. They were also relieved to be able to avoid “open” decompression or fusion surgery.
Conclusions / Level of Evidence 3
The transforaminal endoscopic approach is effective for FBSS due to residual/recurrent HNP and lateral stenosis. Failed initial index surgery may involve failure to recognize patho-anatomy in the axilla of the foramen housing the traversing and the exiting nerve, including the DRG, which is located cephalad and near the tip of SAP.10 The transforaminal endoscopic approach effectively decompresses the foramen and does not further destabilize the spine needing stabilization.11 It also avoids going through the previous surgical site.
Clinical Relevance
Disc narrowing as a consequence of translaminar discectomy and progressive degenerative narrowing and spondylolisthesis (Figure 3) as a natural history of degenerative disc disease can lead to central and lateral stenosis. The MRI may underestimate the degree of stenosis from a bulging or a foraminal disc protrusion and residual lateral recess stenosis. Pain can be diagnosed and confirmed by evocative discography and by clinical response to transforaminal diagnostic and therapeutic steroid injections.12 Foraminal endoscopic decompression of the lateral recess is a MIS technique that does not “burn bridges” for a more conventional approach and it adds to the surgical armamentarium of FBSS.
Cadaver Illustration of Foraminal Stenosis (courtesy of Wolfgang Rauschning). As the disc narrows, the superior articular process impinges on the exiting nerve and DRG, creating lateral recess stenosis, lumbar spondylosis, and facet arthrosis.
doi:10.14444/1022
PMCID: PMC4325507
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome(FBSS); Hidden zone; Foraminal decompression; Recurrent herniation; Lateral stenosis; Foraminal osteophyte
2.  Endoscopically Guided Foraminal and Dorsal Rhizotomy for Chronic Axial Back Pain Based on Cadaver and Endoscopically Visualized Anatomic Study 
Background
Conventional fluoroscopically guided continuous radiofrequency (CRF) and pulsed Radiofrequency (PRF) lesioning of the medial branch, dorsal ramus, a standard technique to treat facet pain, is compared to an endoscopic visually guided technique. The endoscopic technique (Figure 1) is designed to ablate a larger area of the transverse process where the medial branch crosses to innervate the facet. Endoscopically guided visualization provides confirmation of nerve ablation or transection in the most common location of the branches of the dorsal ramus innervating the facet joint.
Surgical setup for ablation of the medial, intermediate and lateral branches of the dorsal ramus.
Materials and Method
A retrospective non randomized study of 50 initial patients assessed the efficacy of endoscopic rhizotomy. Patients with lumbar spondylosis and facet arthrosis who had at least 50% pain relief by medial branch blocks met the inclusion criteria for the visualized, surgically directed endoscopic technique. A specially designed cannula and endoscope (Richard Wolf, GmBh) (Figure 2) was developed specifically for this purpose. After completion of the initial 50 patient pilot study in 2005, utilizing a low-temperature, ultra-high frequency (1.7-4.0 MHz) bipolar energy radiofrequency source (Elliquence Int, Hewlett, NY) that demonstrated efficacy, 400 subsequent patients were added to this retrospective study by May 2013. The surgical technique refinement was guided by cadaveric variations observed from additional cadaver dissections (Figure 3) and endoscopic visualization of foraminal nerves that revealed variable locations of the dorsal ramus, including the medial branch. The anatomic variations supported a need for visualized rhizotomy. The inclusion criteria also involved increasing the percentage of back pain relief from medial branch blocks to a base of 75% estimated improvement in order to overcome the variable subjectiveness of a 50% improvement threshold that served to disappoint a small percentage of patients who overestimated the reported 50% improvement in hopes that they would qualify for the endoscopic guided procedure.
Richard Wolf YESS Rhizotomy Set. The cannulas, endoscope, bitip and surgical bipolar RF probes by Elliquence are configured ergonomically to provide excellent focal length imaging to keep image in focus with the endoscope scope resting on cannula. The bitip probe cuts tissue, and the RF probe thermally ablates tissue efficiently.
Cadaver dissection of the dorsal ramus and its branches out- lining the areas where branches of the dorsal ramus may be visualized and ablated before it reaches the facet joint.
Results
At one year follow-up in the initial study design, VAS improved 6.2-2.5, and ODI 48-28. All patients had VAS improvement equal or greater than injection. The results remained constant with additional surgical cases that continued to improve when technique and visualized rhizotomy allowed for greater surgical exploration and ablation of the targeted zone where more than just the medial branch could be ablated. Approximately 10 percent of the patients returned at one and two year follow-up with mild recurrence of their axial back pain, but none to the original level of pain. Additional rhizotomy of the upper lumbar facets provided additional relief in selected patients.
Conclusions / level of evidence 3
The cadaver studies demonstrated considerable variability in the location of the medial and lateral branches of the dorsal ramus. Variability was most common cephalad to L3-4. The dorsal ramus and its nerve branches can also be visualized in the foramen ventral to the intertransverse ligament. Neuromas and entrapment of the dorsal ramus has been identified endoscopically, and confirmed by H and E slides (Figure 4). In the upper lumbar spine, we were not able to find the medial branch to the facets consistently at same location. The nerve to the facet joint did not always cross the transverse process. Some branches enter the facet joint before crossing the transverse process adjacent to the tip of the SAP (Figure 5). The nerve can be mistaken for a furcal nerve or foraminal ligament. Nerve Ablation at above L3-4 levels may require lesioning of the dorsal ramus or targeting the nerve innervation on the facet wall, pedicle or capsule.
This H and E slide of the biopsied specimen is consistent with a peripheral nerve fiber.
This foraminal view of a branch of the dorsal ramus is in the foramen at the level of the SAP. The nerve runs along the ventral lateral aspect of the superior facet to the tip, and can also run in the vicinity of the foraminal ligament. Endoscopic rasps, trephines, kerrisons, and burrs can be used for foraminoplasty. The nerve should be preserved, if possible, but transection of a branch of the dorsal ramus contributes to axial back pain relief. Branches of the dorsal ramus originates in the foramen before exiting to traverse the transverse process. These nerves are difficult to differentiate from furcal nerves arising from the spinal nerves. Palpating the nerve using local anesthesia can sometimes demonstrate a pain response, but not always, depending on the level of sedation and anesthetic use.
Clinical Relevance
Endoscopically guided facet rhizotomy provides more consistent ablation of the medial and lateral branches of the lumbar dorsal ramus compared to radiographically guided pulsed radiofrequency. The variations in the location of facet innervation can explain the variability of clinical results in fluoroscopically guided RF lesioning. This observation dictates a need for visually guided MIS procedure for best results.
doi:10.14444/1023
PMCID: PMC4325504
Endoscopic; rhizotomy; visualization
3.  Fluoroscopically guided transforaminal epidural dry needling for lumbar spinal stenosis using a specially designed needle 
Background
This report describes the methodological approach and clinical application of a minimally invasive intervention to treat lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).
Methods
Thirty-four patients with LSS underwent fluoroscopically guided transforaminal epidural dry needling using a specially designed flexed Round Needle. The needle was inserted 8-12 cm lateral to the midline at the level of the stenosis and advanced to a position between the anterior side of the facet joint and pedicle up to the outer-third of the pedicle. The needle was advanced medially and backed laterally within a few millimetres along the canal side of the inferior articular process between the facet joint and pedicle. The procedure was completed when a marked reduction in resistance was felt at the tip of the needle. The procedure was performed bilaterally at the level of the stenosis.
Results
The average follow-up period was 12.9 ± 1.1 months. The visual analogue scale (VAS) pain score was reduced from 7.3 ± 2.0 to 4.6 ± 2.5 points, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score decreased from 41.4 ± 17.2 to 25.5 ± 12.6% and the average self-rated improvement was 52.6 ± 33.1%. The VAS scores indicated that 14 (41.2%) patients reported a "good" to "excellent" treatment response, while 11 (32.4%) had a "good" to "excellent" treatment response on the ODI and 22 (64.7%) had a "good" to "excellent" treatment response on the self-rated improvement scale.
Conclusions
These results suggest that fluoroscopically guided transforaminal epidural dry needling is effective for managing LSS.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-180
PMCID: PMC2927508  PMID: 20698999
4.  Paraspinal Abscess Communicated with Epidural Abscess after Extra-Articular Facet Joint Injection 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2007;48(4):711-714.
Facet joint injection is considered to be a safe procedure. There have been some reported cases of facet joint pyogenic infection and also 3 cases of facet joint infection spreading to paraspinal muscle and epidural space due to intra-articular injections. To the author's knowledge, paraspinal and epidural abscesses after facet joint injection without facet joint pyogenic infection have not been reported. Here we report a case in which extra-articular facet joint injection resulted in paraspinal and epidural abscesses without facet joint infection. A 50-year-old man presenting with acute back pain and fever was admitted to the hospital. He had the history of diabetes mellitus and had undergone the extra-articular facet joint injection due to a facet joint syndrome diagnosis at a private clinic 5 days earlier. Physical examination showed tenderness over the paraspinal region. Magnetic resonance image (MRI) demonstrated the paraspinal abscess around the fourth and fifth spinous processes with an additional epidural abscess compressing the thecal sac. The facet joints were preserved. The laboratory results showed a white blood cell count of 14.9 × 109 per liter, an erythrocyte sedimentation rate of 52mm/hour, and 10.88mg/dL of C-reactive protein. Laminectomy and drainage were performed. The pus was found in the paraspinal muscles, which was communicated with the epidural space through a hole in the ligamentum flavum. Cultures grew Staphylococcus aureus. Paraspinal abscess communicated with epidural abscess is a rare complication of extra-articular facet joint injection demonstrating an abscess formation after an invasive procedure near the spine is highly possible.
doi:10.3349/ymj.2007.48.4.711
PMCID: PMC2628056  PMID: 17722247
Complication; infection; injection; facet joint
5.  COMPARABLE EFFECTIVENESS OF CAUDAL VS. TRANS-FORAMINAL EPIDURAL STEROID INJECTIONS 
Study Design: Retrospective case-control study.
Objective: To compare the effectiveness between caudal and trans-foraminal epidural steroid injections for the treatment of primary lumbar radiculopathy.
Summary of Background Data: Spinal injections with steroids play an important role in non-operative care of lumbar radiculopathy. The trans-foraminal epidural steroid injection (TESI) theoretically has a higher success rate based on targeted delivery to the symptomatic nerve root. To our knowledge, these results have not been compared with other techniques of epidural steroid injection.
Methods: 93 patients diagnosed with primary lumbar radiculopathy of L4, L5, or SI were recruited for this study: 39 received caudal epidural steroid injections (ESI) and 54 received trans-foraminal epidural steroid injections (TESI). Outcomes scores included the SF-36, Oswestry disability index (ODI) and pain visual analogue scale (VAS), and were recorded at baseline, post-treatment (<6 months), long-term (>1 year). The average follow-up was 2 years, and 16 patients were lost to follow-up. The endpoint “surgical intervention” was a patient-driven decision, and considered failure of treatment. Intent-to-treat analysis, and comparisons included t-test, Chi-square, and Wilcoxon rank-sum test.
Results: Baseline demographics and outcomes scores were comparable for both treatment groups (ESI vs. TESI): (SF-36 PCS (32.3 ± 7.5 vs. 29.5 ± 8.9 respectively; p = 0.173), MCS (41.2 ± 12.7 vs. 41.1 ± 10.9, respectively; p = 0.971), and VAS (7.4 ±2.1 vs. 7.9 ± 1.2, respectively; p = 0.228)). Surgery was indicated for failure of treatment at a similar rate for both groups (41.0% vs. 44.4%, p=0.743). Symptom improvement was comparable between both treatment groups (ESI vs. TESI): SF-36 PCS improved to 42.0±11.8 and 37.7±12.3, respectively; p=0.49; ODI improved from 50.0±21.2 to 15.6±17.9and from 62.1±17.9 to 26.1±20.3, respectively (p=0.407).
Conclusions: The effectiveness of TESI is comparable to that of ESI (approximately 60%) for the treatment of primary lumbar radiculopathy. The increased complexity of TESI is not justified for primary cases, and may have a more specific role in recurrent disease or for diagnostic purposes.
PMCID: PMC2723700  PMID: 19742093
6.  A Prospective, Observational Study of the Relationship Between Body Mass Index and Depth of the Epidural Space During Lumbar Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection 
Background and Objectives
Previous studies have concluded that transforaminal epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are more effective than interlaminar injections in the treatment of radiculopathies due to lumbar intervertebral disk herniation. There are no published studies examining the depth of epidural space using a transforaminal approach. We investigated the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and the depth of the epidural space during lumbar transforaminal ESIs.
Methods
Eighty-six consecutive patients undergoing lumbar transforaminal ESI at the L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1 levels were studied. Using standard protocol, the foraminal epidural space was attained using fluoroscopic guidance. The measured distance from needle tip to skin was recorded (depth to foraminal epidural space). The differences in the needle depth and BMI were analyzed using regression analysis.
Results
Needle depth was positively associated with BMI (regression coefficient [RC], 1.13; P < 0.001). The median depths (in centimeters) to the epidural space were 6.3, 7.5, 8.4, 10.0, 10.4, and 12.2 for underweight, normal, preobese, obese I, obese II, and obese III classifications, respectively. Sex (RC, 1.3; P = 0.02) and race (RC, 0.8; P = 0.04) were also significantly associated with needle depth; however, neither factor remained significant when BMI was accounted as a covariate in the regression model. Age, intervertebral level treated, and oblique angle had no predictive value on foraminal depth (P > 0.2).
Conclusion
There is a positive association between BMI and transforaminal epidural depth, but not with age, sex, race, oblique angle, or intervertebral level.
doi:10.1097/AAP.0b013e31819a12ba
PMCID: PMC2715548  PMID: 19282707
7.  Minimally Invasive Approach for Drainage of a Sacral Epidural Abscess 
Interventional Neuroradiology  2007;13(2):161-165.
Summary
Sacral epidural abscesses are rare infections, often managed with open surgery, especially in the presence of acute neurological symptoms. We report a novel approach for minimally invasive drainage of sacral epidural abscesses.
A 51-year-old man presented to the emergency department complaining of low back pain, generalized muscle pain, pain across several large joints, low-grade fever, and weakness of both legs for ten days. MRI of the patient's lumbosacral spine showed osteomyelitis involving his L5, S1 vertebrae, L5-S1 discitis, as well as anterior and posterior epidural abscesses extending from L5-S1 disc space to the S2 vertebral level. Under CT fluoroscopic guidance a 20-gauge spinal needle was inserted into the sacral hiatus, parallel to the pelvic surface of the sacral canal, and directed cranially. A 0.18-gauge microwire was then advanced through the 20-gauge needle. The 20-gauge needle was exchanged over the guidewire for an 18-gauge blunt tipped needle which was curved to approximate the contours of the sacral canal. The curved needle was inserted through the sacral hiatus with its concavity initially facing upwards, and then rotated 180° to gain access to epidural abscess.
Once anatomic access was established 5cc of thick purulent material was evacuated. The patient tolerated the procedure well, and no focal nerve root symptoms were noted following the procedure.
Image guided aspiration of sacral epidural abscesses can be carried out in a safe and effective manner using CT fluoroscopy. Aspiration of these abscesses combined with intravenous antibiotics may be an alternative to open surgery in select patients.
PMCID: PMC3345478  PMID: 20566144
sacral abscess, osteomielitis, spine, percutaneous drainage
8.  Vertebral Artery Position in the Setting of Cervical Degenerative Disease: Implications for Selective Cervical Transforaminal Epidural Injections 
Interventional Neuroradiology  null;19(4):425-431.
Summary
Cervical transforaminal epidural injections (C-TfEI) are commonly performed in patients with cervical radiculopathy/pain. C-TfEIs are typically performed without incident but adverse events can occur. Using CT-fluoroscopy-guided C-TfEI, we commonly observe the vertebral artery in proximity to the target injection site. The purpose of this study was to assess the position of the vertebral artery relative to the typical C-TfEI injection point.
CT-fluoroscopy-guided C-TfEIs were performed at 70 levels in 68 patients with radiculopathy/neck pain (age range 19-83 yrs, mean 50.6 yrs). Degenerative neural foraminal narrowing at each level was characterized (normal-to-mild, moderate, severe). Vertebral artery position was categorized as: anterior (normal), partially covering neural foramen, complete/near-complete covering the neural foramen. Additional measured variables included angle of needle trajectory, foraminal angle, and whether or not needle trajectory intersected with the vertebral artery.
Foraminal vertebral artery covering correlated with severity of foraminal degenerative narrowing (p=0.003). Complete/near-complete covering was seen in: 65% severely narrowed foramina, 30% moderately narrowed foramina and 10% normal/mildly-narrowed foramina. Needle trajectory intersected with the vertebral artery in 30 of 70 injections (46%) by CT-fluoroscopy, frequently associated with shallow (lateral) approaches. Foraminal angle, approximating oblique fluoroscopic technique, suggests needle trajectory intersection with the vertebral artery in 27 of 70 foramina (39%).
Vertebral artery position is commonly displaced into the foramen in patients with advanced cervical degenerative disease. Operator awareness of altered vertebral artery position is important for determination of optimal needle trajectory and tip placement prior to injection in patients undergoing C-TfEI.
PMCID: PMC3902740  PMID: 24355145
cervical spine; cervical radiculopathy; neck pain; cervical transforaminal epidural injection; cervical nerve root block; computed tomography
9.  Principles of management of osteometabolic disorders affecting the aging spine 
European Spine Journal  2003;12(Suppl 2):S113-S131.
Osteoporosis is the most common contributing factor of spinal fractures, which characteristically are not generally known to produce spinal cord compression symptoms. Recently, an increasing number of medical reports have implicated osteoporotic fractures as a cause of serious neurological deficit and painful disabling spinal deformities. This has been corroborated by the present authors as well. These complications are only amenable to surgical management, requiring instrumentation. Instrumenting an osteoporotic spine, although a challenging task, can be accomplished if certain guidelines for surgical techniques are respected. Neurological deficits respond equally well to an anterior or posterior decompression, provided this is coupled with multisegmental fixation of the construct. With the steady increase in the elderly population, it is anticipated that the spine surgeon will face serious complications of osteoporotic spines more frequently. With regard to surgery, however, excellent correction of deformities can be achieved, by combining anterior and posterior approaches. Paget's disease of bone (PD) is a non-hormonal osteometabolic disorder and the spine is the second most commonly affected site. About one-third of patients with spinal involvement exhibit symptoms of clinical stenosis. In only 12–24% of patients with PD of the spine is back pain attributed solely to PD, while in the majority of patients, back pain is either arthritic in nature or a combination of a pagetic process and coexisting arthritis. In this context, one must be certain before attributing low back pain to PD exclusively, and antipagetic medical treatment alone may be ineffective. Neural element dysfunction may be attributed to compressive myelopathy by pagetic bone overgrowth, pagetic intraspinal soft tissue overgrowth, ossification of epidural fat, platybasia, spontaneous bleeding, sarcomatous degeneration and vertebral fracture or subluxation. Neural dysfunction can also result from spinal ischemia when blood is diverted by the so-called "arterial steal syndrome". Because the effectiveness of pharmacologic treatment for pagetic spinal stenosis has been clearly demonstrated, surgical decompression should only be instituted after failure of antipagetic medical treatment. Surgery is indicated as a primary treatment when neural compression is secondary to pathologic fractures, dislocations, spontaneous epidural hematoma, syringomyelia, platybasia, or sarcomatous transformation. Five classes of drugs are available for the treatment of PD. Bisphosphonates are the most popular antipagetic drug and several forms have been investigated.
doi:10.1007/s00586-003-0600-5
PMCID: PMC3591829  PMID: 14505119
Osteoporosis; Fractures; Neurological deficit; Deformity; Paget's disease; Back pain; Spinal stenosis; Myelopathy; Treatment
10.  Lumbar radiculopathy caused by foraminal stenosis in rheumatoid arthritis 
Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences  2011;116(2):133-137.
Study design
Case-series study.
Objective
To describe the clinical presentation, characteristic findings of imaging studies, and treatment of lumbar radiculopathy caused by foraminal stenosis in rheumatoid arthritis.
Background
Lumbar lesions in rheumatoid arthritis are relatively rare, with a limited number of systemic reports.
Methods
Six patients with lumbar radiculopathy caused by foraminal stenosis in rheumatoid arthritis were treated. The patients were all women with a mean age of 69 years and mean rheumatoid arthritis duration of 15 years. The medical records and imaging studies of all patients were reviewed.
Results
The affected nerve roots were L4 in four patients and L3 in two patients. Foraminal stenosis was not demonstrated in magnetic resonance images in four of the six patients. Selective radiculography with nerve root block reproduced pain, manifested blocking effect, and demonstrated compression of the nerve root by the superior articular process of the lower vertebra in all patients. Conservative treatment was performed on one patient, and surgery was conducted for the rest of the five patients; radiculopathy was improved in all patients.
Conclusions
Lumbar foraminal stenosis is a characteristic pathology of rheumatoid arthritis, and should be kept in mind in the diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy. Selective radiculography is useful in the diagnosis of affected nerve roots.
doi:10.3109/03009734.2010.526722
PMCID: PMC3078543  PMID: 21091389
Diagnosis; foraminal stenosis; lumbar spine; radiculopathy; rheumatoid arthritis; surgery
11.  Magnetic resonance image findings in the early post-operative period after anterior cervical discectomy 
European Spine Journal  2006;16(1):27-31.
If early neurological deterioration occurs following anterior cervical discectomy, the patient should be evaluated by urgent MRI scanning. In order to interpret such a scan it is essential to know what the normal post-operative MRI appearance is following an uncomplicated procedure. In the lumbar spine it is well recognized that early post-operative imaging following discectomy is difficult to interpret with a high rate of false positive scans.The normal appearance of MRI in the early post-operative period was evaluated prospectively in 15 patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy without fusion for either cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy. MRI was performed on the first post-operative day, at 6 weeks and 6 months. The successful outcome of the procedure was validated by uniform improvement of Visual Analogue Scale measurement for neck and arm pain, the Neck Disability Index and European Myelopathy Score as appropriate.In contrast to the established findings following lumbar discectomy, only two cases showed a persistent epidural mass in the first post-operative scan and this had completely resolved at 6 months. All patients had foraminal narrowing and root or cord compression pre-operatively. Sixty six percent of cases showed persistent foraminal narrowing on sequential imaging up to 6 months despite showing good symptomatic improvement. All cases demonstrated high signal in the operated disc space on T2 weighted imaging on the first post-operative day and this finding persisted in 13 of 15 scans performed at 6 weeks. Post contrast imaging demonstrated no enhancement of operated disc space and adjacent vertebral body on the first post-operative day, whereas all scans at 6 weeks showed enhancement and such enhancement persisted at 6 months in 50%. Persistent epidural filling defects are uncommon following successful anterior cervical discectomy but persistence of foraminal narrowing is common despite successful outcome. Enhancement of the disc space is also common and does not in itself imply infection.
doi:10.1007/s00586-005-0045-0
PMCID: PMC2198885  PMID: 16421746
Cervical spine; Anterior cervical discectomy; Post-operative findings; Magnetic resonance imaging
12.  Solitary Epidural Lipoma with Ipsilateral Facet Arthritis Causing Lumbar Radiculopathy 
Asian Spine Journal  2012;6(3):203-206.
A 55-year-old obese man (body mass index, 31.6 kg/m2) presented radiating pain and motor weakness in the left leg. Magnetic resonance imaging showed an epidural mass posterior to the L5 vertebral body, which was isosignal to subcutaneous fat and it asymmetrically compressed the left side of the cauda equina and the exiting left L5 nerve root on the axial T1 weighted images. Severe arthritis of the left facet joint and edema of the bone marrow regarding the left pedicle were also found. As far as we know, there have been no reports concerning a solitary epidural lipoma combined with ipsilateral facet arthorsis causing lumbar radiculopathy. Solitary epidural lipoma with ipsilateral facet arthritis causing lumbar radiculopathy was removed after the failure of conservative treatment. After decompression, the neurologic deficit was relieved. At a 2 year follow-up, motor weakness had completely recovered and the patient was satisfied with the result. We recommend that a solitary epidural lipoma causing neurologic deficit should be excised at the time of diagnosis.
doi:10.4184/asj.2012.6.3.203
PMCID: PMC3429612  PMID: 22977701
Solitary epidural lipoma; Posterior facet; Ipsilateral arthritis; Lumbar radiculopathy
13.  Lumbar epidural perineural injection: a new technique 
European Spine Journal  1997;6(5):357-361.
Two controlled studies for a new epidural, perineural, singleshot, selective nerve root injection with a double-needle approach to the anterior epidural space of the lumbar spinal canal are presented. The results were analysed to determine the effectiveness of the new epidural perineural injection technique. The trial comprised two controlled studies on 182 patients. One study compared prospectively randomized results of patients with lumbar radicular syndromes who received epidural perineural injections (n = 47), conventional posterior epidural injections (n = 40) and, as a control group, paravertebral local anaesthetic (n = 46). A second, prospective, double-blind study compared the effect of epidural perineural injections with triamcinolone (n = 24) and pure saline (n = 25). Epidural perineural injections were more effective than conventional posterior epidural injections. Both epidural groups had better results than the paravertebral local injection group. Epidural perineural injections with steroids (10 mg triamcinolone) were more effective than saline alone. A systemic steroid effect was excluded by additional intramuscular steroid injections in the saline group. There were no severe complications or side effects in any of the three groups. The studies concluded that single-shot epidural perineural injection is effective in the treatment of lumbar radicular pain. It is a “one drop only” therapy to the source of pain.
doi:10.1007/BF01142687
PMCID: PMC3454603  PMID: 9391811
Epidural perineural injection; Local injection therapy; Lumbar radicular syndrome; Conservative treatment
14.  An intradural cervical chordoma mimicking schwannoma 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 83.
Abstract:
Chordoma is a relatively rare tumor originating from the embryonic remnants of the notochord. This is an aggressive, slow growing and invasive tumor. It occurs mostly at the two ends of neuroaxis which is more frequent in the sacrococcygeal region. Chordoma in vertebral column is very rare. This tumor is extradural in origin and compresses neural tissues and makes the patient symptomatic. This tumor found extremely rare in the spinal region as an intradural tumor.
The present study reports a rare case of intradural chordoma tumor as well as its clinical manifestations and treatment options.
Case:
The patient was a 50-year-old female presented with 9 months history of progressively worsening neck pain, cervical spine chordoma resembling neurinoma and right arm numbness. Physical examination showed no weakness in her limbs, but she had upward plantar reflex and mild hyperreflexia. In a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the cervical spine there was an ill-defined enhancing mass in the posterior aspect of C2-C3 body caused cord compression more severe in right side as well as foraminal scalloping. The patient underwent surgery and after midline posterior cervical incision and paravertebral muscle stripping a laminectomy was performed from C1 through C4 using a high speed drill. Needle biopsy revealed chordoma on frozen section and all of accessible parts of tumor were excised. The gross and microscopic histopathological appearance was consistent with chordoma.
Chordomas are malignant tumors that arise from remains of embryonic notochord. These ectopic rests of notochord termed “ecchordosis physaliphora “can be found in approximately 2% of autopsies. These are aggressive, slow growing, locally invasive and destructive tumors those occur in the midline of neuroaxis. They generally thought to account for 2% to 4% of all primary bone neoplasms and 1% to 4% malignant bone neoplasms. They are the most frequent primary malignant spinal tumors after plasmacytomas. The incidence has been estimated to be 0.51 cases per million. The most common location is sacrococcygeal region followed by the clivus. These two locations account for approximately 90% of chordomas. Of the tumors that do not arise in the sacrum or clivus, half occur in the cervical region, with the remainder found in the lumbar or thoracic region, in descending order of frequency. Cervical spine chordomas account for 6% of all cases. Distal metastasis most often occurs in young patients, those with sacrococcygeal or vertebral tumors, and those with atypical histological features. These tumors usually spread to contiguous anatomical structures, but they may be found in distant sites (skin, musculoskeletal system, brain, and other internal organs). Seeding of the tumor has also been reported, and the likely mechanism seems to be tumor cell of contamination during the surgical procedures. The usual radiological findings in chordomas of spine are destructive or lytic lesions with occasional sclerotic changes. They tend to lie anterolateral, rather than dorsal towards the cord, and reportedly known to invade the dura. The midline location, destructive nature, soft tissue mass formation and calcification are the radiological hallmarks of chordomas. Computed Tomography (CT) scan is the best imaging modality to delineate areas of osteolytic, osteosclerotic, or mixed areas of bone destruction.Chordoma is usually known as a hypovascular tumor which grows in a lobulated manner. Septal enhancement which reflects a lobulated growth pattern is seen in both CT and MRI and even in gross examination. Other epidural tumors include neurinoma, neurofibroma, meningioma, neuroblastoma, hemangioma, lymphoma and metastases. Their differentiation from chordoma may be difficult due to the same enhancement pattern on CT and MRI.
A dumbbell-shaped chordoma is a rare pathogenic condition. The dumbbell shape is a characteristic finding of neurinomas in spine but in spinal neurinomas extention to transverse foramina has not yet been reported. Although our case mimicked a dumbbell shaped neurogenic tumor, its midline location and destructive pattern were characteristic feature indicating a clue to the diagnosis of chordoma that was already confirmed with histopathology.
This unusual behavior of tumor extension can be explained by the soft and gelatinous nature of the tumor enabling the mass to extend or creep into the existing adjacent anatomical structures.
Keywords:
Cervical Chordoma, Intradural, Computed tomography
PMCID: PMC3571609
15.  Complications and pitfalls of lumbar interlaminar and transforaminal epidural injections 
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.
doi:10.1007/s12178-008-9035-2
PMCID: PMC2682416  PMID: 19468908
Back pain; Spinal injection; Epidural steroid injection; Lumbar interlaminar epidural; Lumbar transforaminal epidural; Complications; Safety; Risk management
16.  Epidural Lysis of Adhesions 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2013;27(1):3-15.
As our population ages and the rate of spine surgery continues to rise, the use epidural lysis of adhesions (LOA) has emerged as a popular treatment to treat spinal stenosis and failed back surgery syndrome. There is moderate evidence that percutaneous LOA is more effective than conventional ESI for both failed back surgery syndrome, spinal stenosis, and lumbar radiculopathy. For cervical HNP, cervical stenosis and mechanical pain not associated with nerve root involvement, the evidence is anecdotal. The benefits of LOA stem from a combination of factors to include the high volumes administered and the use of hypertonic saline. Hyaluronidase has been shown in most, but not all studies to improve treatment outcomes. Although infrequent, complications are more likely to occur after epidural LOA than after conventional epidural steroid injections.
doi:10.3344/kjp.2014.27.1.3
PMCID: PMC3903797  PMID: 24478895
epidural adhesiolysis; epidural lysis of adhesions; epidural neuroplasty; epiduroscopy; failed back surgery syndrome
17.  Kambin's Triangle Approach of Lumbar Transforaminal Epidural Injection with Spinal Stenosis 
Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine  2011;35(6):833-843.
Objective
To compare the short-term effect and advantage of transforaminal epidural steroid injection (TFESI) performed using the Kambin's triangle and subpedicular approaches.
Method
Forty-two patients with radicular pain from lumbar spinal stenosis were enrolled. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups. All procedures were performed using C-arm KMC 950. The frequency of complications during the procedure and the effect of TFESI at 2 and 4 weeks after the procedure between the two groups were compared. Short-term outcomes were measured using a visual numeric scale (VNS) and a five-grade scale. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate the relationship between possible outcome predictors (Kambin's triangle or subpedicular approach, age, duration of symptoms and sex) and the therapeutic effect.
Results
VNS was improved 2 weeks after the injection and continued to improve until 4 weeks in both groups. There were no statistical differences in changes of VNS, effectiveness and contrast spread pattern between these two groups. No correlation was found between the other variables tested and therapeutic effect. Spinal nerve pricking occurred in five cases of the subpedicular and in none of the cases of the Kambin's triangle approach (p<0.05).
Conclusion
The Kambin's triangle approach is as efficacious as the subpedicular approach for short-term effect and offers considerable advantages (i.e., less spinal nerve pricking during procedure). The Kambin's triangle approach maybe an alternative method for transforaminal epidural steroid injection in cases where needle tip positioning in the anterior epidural space is difficult.
doi:10.5535/arm.2011.35.6.833
PMCID: PMC3309379  PMID: 22506212
Kambin's triangle; Lumbar; Transforaminal; Stenosis
18.  Usefulness of Posterolateral Transforaminal Approach in Lumbar Radicular Pain 
Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine  2011;35(3):395-404.
Objective
To compare the short-term effects and advantages of transforaminal epidural steroid injection (TFESI) performed using the conventional (CL) and posterolateral (PL) approaches.
Method
Fifty patients with lumbar radicular pain from lumbar spinal stenosis and herniated lumbar disc were enrolled. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups (CL or PL group). All procedures were performed using a C-arm (KMC 950, KOMED, Kwangju, Kyunggi, Korea). We compared the frequency of complications during the procedure and the effects of the pain block between the two groups at 2, 4, and 12 weeks after the procedure.
Results
There were no significant differences in the demographic data, initial VNS (Visual numeric scale), or ODI (Oswestry disability index) between the CL group (n=26) and the PL group (n=24). There was no statistically significant difference in the outcome measures (VNS and ODI) between the groups at 2, 4, or 12 weeks. Symptoms of nerve root irritation occurred in 1 case of the CL group and in 7 cases of the PL group (p<0.05). Pricking of spinal nerve during the procedure and transient weakness after the procedure occurred in 6 cases and 3 cases, respectively in the CL group, but did not occur in the PL group.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that the posterolateral approach represents an alternative TFESI method in cases with difficult needle tip positioning in the anterior epidural space, and could lower the risk of target nerve root irritation and nerve penetration.
doi:10.5535/arm.2011.35.3.395
PMCID: PMC3309206  PMID: 22506150
Transforaminal; Conventional; Posterolateral; Injection
19.  Perioperative complications with rhBMP-2 in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion 
European Spine Journal  2010;20(4):612-617.
Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) is commonly used as an ICBG substitute for transforaminal lumbar interbody spine fusion (TLIF). However, multiple recent reports have raised concerns regarding a substantial incidence of perioperative radiculopathy. Also, given the serious complications reported with anterior cervical BMP use, risks related to swelling and edema with TLIF need to be clarified. As TLIF related complications with rhBMP-2 have generally been reported in small series or isolated cases, without a clear denominator, actual complication rates are largely unknown. The purpose this study is to characterize perioperative complications and complication rates in a large consecutive series of TLIF procedures with rhBMP-2. We reviewed inpatient and outpatient medical records for a consecutive series of 204 patients [113 females, 91 males, mean age 49.3 (22–79) years] who underwent TLIF using rhBMP-2 between 2003 and 2007. Complications observed within a 3-month perioperative interval were categorized as to etiology and severity. Wound problems were delineated as wound infection, hematoma/seroma or persistent drainage/superficial dehiscence. Neurologic deficits and radiculopathies were analyzed to determine the presence of a clear etiology (screw misplacement) and identify any potential relationship to rhBMP-2 usage. Complications were observed in 47 of 204 patients (21.6%) during the 3-month perioperative period. Major complications occurred in 13 patients (6.4%) and minor complications in 34 patients (16.7%). New or more severe postoperative neurologic complaints were noted in 13 patients (6.4%), 6 of whom required additional surgery. These cases included one malpositioned pedicle screw and one epidural hematoma. In four patients (2.0%), localized seroma/hematoma in the area of the foramen caused neural compression, and required revision. In one additional patient, vertebral osteolysis caused foraminal narrowing and radiculopathy, but resolved without further surgery. Persistent radiculopathy without clear etiology on imaging studies was seen in six patients. Wound related problems were seen in six patients (2.9%), distributed as wound infection (3), hematoma/seroma (1) and persistent drainage/dehiscence (2). Overall, this study demonstrates a modest complication rate for TLIF using rhBMP-2. While perioperative complications which appeared specific to BMP usage were noted, they occurred infrequently. It will be necessary to weigh this incidence of complications against the complication rate associated with ICBG harvest and any differential benefit in obtaining a solid arthrodesis.
doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1494-7
PMCID: PMC3065615  PMID: 20582554
Bone graft substitute; Bone morphogenetic protein; Transforaminal interbody fusion; Morbidity; Spine fusion
20.  Analysis of Efficacy Differences between Caudal and Lumbar Interlaminar Epidural Injections in Chronic Lumbar Axial Discogenic Pain: Local Anesthetic Alone vs. Local Combined with Steroids 
Study Design: Comparative assessment of randomized controlled trials of caudal and lumbar interlaminar epidural injections in chronic lumbar discogenic pain.
Objective: To assess the comparative efficacy of caudal and lumbar interlaminar approaches of epidural injections in managing axial or discogenic low back pain.
Summary of Background Data: Epidural injections are commonly performed utilizing either a caudal or lumbar interlaminar approach to treat chronic lumbar axial or discogenic pain, which is pain exclusive of that associated with a herniated intervertebral disc, or that is due to degeneration of the zygapophyseal joints, or due to dysfunction of the sacroiliac joints, respectively. The literature on the efficacy of epidural injections in managing chronic axial lumbar pain of presumed discogenic origin is limited.
Methods: The present analysis is based on 2 randomized controlled trials of chronic axial low back pain not caused by disc herniation, radiculitis, or facet joint pain, utilizing either a caudal or lumbar interlaminar approach, with a total of 240 patients studied, and a 24-month follow-up. Patients were assigned to receive either local anesthetic only or local anesthetic with a steroid in each 60 patient group.
Results: The primary outcome measure was significant improvement, defined as pain relief and functional status improvement of at least 50% from baseline, which was reported at 24-month follow-ups in 72% who received local anesthetic only with a lumbar interlaminar approach and 54% who received local anesthetic only with a caudal approach. In patients receiving local anesthetic with a steroid, the response rate was 67% for those who had a lumbar interlaminar approach and 68% for those who had a caudal approach at 12 months. The response was significantly better in the lumbar interlaminar group who received local anesthetic only, 77% versus 56% at 12 months and 72% versus 54% at 24 months.
Conclusion: This assessment shows that in patients with axial or discogenic pain in the lumbar spine after excluding facet joint and SI Joint pain, epidural injections of local anesthetic by the caudal or lumbar interlaminar approach may be effective in managing chronic low back pain with a potential superiority for a lumbar interlaminar approach over a caudal approach.
doi:10.7150/ijms.10870
PMCID: PMC4323359
Chronic low back pain; axial low back pain; lumbar discogenic pain; caudal epidural injections; lumbar interlaminar epidural injections.
21.  Quadriceps muscle rupture mimicking lumbar radiculopathy 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(Suppl 4):545-548.
Study design
Case report.
Objective
To report an unusual case of vastus lateralis muscle rupture not accompanied by any history of major trauma or the presence of a risk factor in a patient with spinal stenosis.
Summary of background data
Isolated vastus lateralis muscle rupture without an obvious cause is very rare. Localized pain and claudication are the most common symptoms and can be misdiagnosed as lumbar radiculopathy.
Methods
A 70-year-old patient presented with right lower extremity and back pain, diagnosed as spinal stenosis. He was initially treated with caudal epidural block and transforaminal epidural block, which resulted in nearly complete relief of his symptoms. However, he subsequently experienced a pain that was no longer responsive to treatment. The ultrasonographic exam revealed a partial tear of the right vastus lateralis muscle.
Result
Injection of local anesthetics relieved the patient’s symptoms. At 1-month follow-up, he remained pain-free.
Conclusions
In patients with lower back and leg pain, physicians should consider non-spinal conditions that can cause signs and symptoms mimicking lumbar radiculopathy.
doi:10.1007/s00586-012-2191-5
PMCID: PMC3369064  PMID: 22349970
Muscle injury; Quadriceps muscle; Radiculopathy; Spinal stenosis
22.  Anatomical and surgical study of volume determination of the anterolateral epidural space nerve root L5/S1 under the aspect of epidural perineural injection in minimal invasive treatment of lumbar nerve root compression 
European Spine Journal  2010;20(4):537-541.
Herniated intervertebral disc causes in a great number of cases of lumbar nerve root compression, especially in the segment L5/S1. Other reasons responsible for stress to the lumbar spinal root are the spinal canal stenosis and the postdiscotomy syndrome. For patients without neurological deficiencies, the conservative treatment includes different epidural injection techniques. Steroids are often applied. A specific injection technique needing only a small drug amount is the epidural perineural approach using a special two-needle technique. The anatomical spaces of the nerve roots have received little attention in therapy. We have determined the anterolateral epidural space nerve volume of the nerve root L5/S1, and compared the data collected in an anatomical study with operative measurements during discectomy. The volume determination in the human cadavers was performed with liquid silicone filling the anterolateral space after dissection. The in vivo measurements were performed during surgery at the site of the anterolateral space after discectomy. The anatomical studies showed us a mean value volume of 1.1 ml. The surgical volume determinations result in a mean volume of 0.9 ml. A better understanding of the anterolateral epidural space may allow a reduction of the injection volume in the conservative nerve root compression treatment, especially using the epidural perineural technique, avoiding the risk of side effects of high doses of steroids.
doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1497-4
PMCID: PMC3065601  PMID: 20589518
Lumbar nerve root compression; Anatomical volume determination; Epidural–perineural injection technique
23.  Investigation of High-Sensitivity C-reactive Protein and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate in Low Back Pain Patients 
The Korean Journal of Pain  2010;23(2):147-150.
Background
Chronic low back pain can be a manifestation of lumbar degenerative disease, herniation of intervertebral discs, arthritis, or lumbar stenosis. When nerve roots are compromised, low back pain, with or without lower extremity involvement, may occur. Local inflammatory processes play an important role in patients with acute lumbosciatic pain. The purpose of this study was to assess the value of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) measurements in patients with chronic low back pain or radiculopathy.
Methods
ESR and hsCRP were measured in 273 blood samples from male and female subjects with low back pain and/or radiculopathy due to herniated lumbar disc, spinal stenosis, facet syndrome, and other diseases. The hsCRP and ESR were measured prior to lumbar epidural steroid injection.
Results
The mean ESR was 18.8 mm/h and mean hsCRP was 1.1 mg/L. ESR had a correlation with age.
Conclusions
A significant systemic inflammatory reaction did not appear to arise in patients with chronic low back pain.
doi:10.3344/kjp.2010.23.2.147
PMCID: PMC2886244  PMID: 20556218
ESR; hsCRP; low back pain
24.  Paget's Disease of the spine and its management 
European Spine Journal  2001;10(5):370-384.
Abstract.
A review of the literature was conducted to study the pathomechanics by which Paget's Disease of bone (PD) alters the spinal structures that result in distinct spinal pathologic entities such as pagetic spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis, and other pathologies, and to assess the best treatment options and available drugs. The spine is the second most commonly affected site with PD. About one-third of patients with spinal involvement exhibit symptoms of clinical stenosis. In only 12–24% of patients with PD of the spine is back pain attributed solely to PD, while in the majority of patients back pain is either arthritic in nature or a combination of a pagetic process and coexisting arthritis. Neural element dysfunction may be attributed to compressive myelopathy by pagetic bone overgrowth, pagetic intraspinal soft tissue overgrowth, ossification of epidural fat, platybasia, spontaneous bleeding, sarcomatous degeneration and vertebral fracture or subluxation. Neural dysfunction can also result from spinal ischemia, when blood is diverted by the so-called ''arterial steal syndrome''. Because the effectiveness of pharmacologic treatment for pagetic spinal stenosis has been clearly demonstrated, surgical decompression should only be instituted after failure of antipagetic medical treatment. Surgery is indicated as a primary treatment when neural compression is secondary to pathologic fractures, dislocations, spontaneous epidural hematoma, syringomyelia, platybasia, or sarcomatous transformation. Since, in the majority of cases with pagetic spinal involvement, there are also coexisting osteoarthritic changes, antipagetic medical treatment alone may be disappointing. Therefore, one must be careful before attributing low back pain to PD alone. Five classes of drugs are available for the treatment of PD: bisphosphonates, calcitonins, mithramycin (plicamycin), gallium nitrate, and ipriflavone. Bisphosphonates are the most popular, and several forms have been investigated, but only the following forms have been approved for clinical use: disodium etidronate, clodronate, aledronate, risedronate, neridronate, pamidronate, tiludronate, ibadronate, aminohydroxylbutylidene bisphosphonate, olpadronate, and zoledronate. Several of these forms are still under investigation.
doi:10.1007/s005860100329
PMCID: PMC3611523  PMID: 11718191
Paget's Disease Back pain Spinal stenosis Myelopathy Complications Medical treatment Surgery Review
25.  A blunt needle (Epimed®) does not eliminate the risk of vascular penetration during transforaminal epidural injection 
Surgical Neurology International  2013;4(Suppl 5):S404-S406.
Background:
Transforaminal epidural injection of local anesthetics and corticosteroids is a common practice in patients with radicular pain. However, serious morbidity has also been reported, which can be attributed to an arterial or venous injection of the medication especially particulate glucocorticoid preparations. Using a blunt needle in contrast to sharp needle has been suggested to reduce this risk in a study on animals.
Case Description:
We present a 59-year-old female with L5 lumbar radicular symptoms and left L5-S1 foraminal narrowing who underwent transforaminal epidural injection with fluoroscopic guidance using a 22-gauge blunt curved needle (Epimed®, Johnstown, NY). Intravascular needle placement was detected during real-time contrast injection under live fluoroscopy after a negative aspiration and local anesthetic test dose. The needle was slightly withdrawn and correct distribution of the contrast was confirmed along the target nerve root and into the epidural space.
Conclusion:
This case report discusses vascular penetration utilizing an Epimed® blunt needle to perform transforaminal injections in a clinical setting. This topic was previously discussed in earlier animal studies. We also reemphasize that neither negative aspiration or local anesthetic test doses are reliable techniques to ensure the safety of transforaminal epidural injections.
doi:10.4103/2152-7806.120784
PMCID: PMC3841942  PMID: 24340239
Blunt needle; fluoroscopy; intravascular penetration; radicular pain; transforaminal epidural injection

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