A fluoroscopic guided injection involves injecting medicine directly into the joint under a special form of imaging known as a c-arm. It is used primarily for therapeutic reasons combining a corticosteroid and numbing agent. A steroid injection is a minimally invasive procedure that can temporarily relieve pain caused by an inflamed joint. These injections can help diagnose the source of pain, as well as alleviate the discomfort.
The procedure is very similar to an Arthrogram. It is the same procedure we do, but the medication we inject is different. You will be brought to our radiology procedure room, and asked to change into an exam gown before entering. Here the physician will explain the procedure and answer any remaining questions. You will be asked to supine, which is on your back, on the x-ray table and the c-arm will be brought in around the joint receiving the injection. The area will be well-prepped and cleansed for the procedure. The physician numbs a small area of skin with an anesthetic (numbing medication) to minimize any pain of the procedure for comfort. After the area is numb, the physician uses x-ray guidance (fluoroscopy) to direct a needle into the joint. The fluoroscope aids the physician to see an x-ray image while performing the injection, which allows them to visually follow the needle to the correct position. Once the correct position is confirmed, the anesthetic and steroid will be injected, and the needle is removed.
You may be asked to remain resting on the table for a short period of time. Sometimes patients get lightheaded or woozy after the injection, but this wears off in a few minutes with rest. On occasion, you may feel numb or experience a slight weak or odd feeling in your leg for a few hours after your injection, but this feeling will diminish once the numbing medication begins to wear off. Most patients experience relief after the injection with minimal to no side effects.
The x-ray technician will get you up and moving and take you back to the locker area and ask you to wait 10 minutes in the waiting room before proceeding out. It may be helpful for you to track your pain over the next few weeks to discuss at your next visit.
If the area is uncomfortable within the first two to three days after the injection, apply an ice or cold pack to the general area of the injection site. This may provide pain relief and be more beneficial than applying heat. Over the counter medications help as well, but check with your physician to make sure you can safely take these medications. The steroid injection may take 1-2 weeks before any effect is noted.
On the day after your injection, you may return to your regular activities.