If excellent pain relief is obtained from the first epidural injection, there will be no need to repeat it. If there is a partial benefit (greater than 30% relief from pain) the epidural injection can be repeated for possible additional benefit, or it may be necessary to conduct additional tests to more accurately determine what is causing the patient's pain. Up to three epidural steroid injections may be performed within a one-year period, spaced at least two to four weeks apart. If the initial injection provides minimal benefit (less than 30% pain relief) the physician may either repeat the injection, or try a different type of injection or treatment.
These case reports indicate fluoroscopic guidance will not insure or prevent intrathecal perforation or spinal cord penetration during the administration of cervical epidural steroid injections. In addition, although intravenous sedations during cervical epidural steroid injections have been used numerous times without reported complications, it appears intravenous sedation in these two cases resulted in the inability of the patient to experience the expected pain and paresthesias at the time of spinal cord irritation. Therefore, the authors conclude that the patient should be fully awake during the administration of cervical epidural steroid injections, with only local anesthetic in the skin used for analgesia.