Day Procedures

Epidural Injection

Patients with back pain and leg pain can often benefit from an injection of local anaesthetic and Cortisone being injected into the epidural space. Often associated with women in labour, the epidural part relates to the area into which the needle will be placed. Epi (around) and dural (referring to the dura – which is the protective sheath around the spinal nerves). In layman’s terms epidural injection means that a patient is having an injection into the space around the dura.

Dr Moloney likes to use some local anaesthetic together with Cortisone which can give patients the effect of some numbness in their legs when their sedation wears off. The idea is for patients to get some relief from the local anaesthetic giving the Cortisone time to have its effect. Once the Cortisone has kicked in it can last up to 6 or 9 months.

The injection is performed under image intensification which means that Dr Moloney uses x-ray to see where the needle needs to go. This ensures the safest possible procedure for you.

Dr Moloney does these procedures in a hospital with an Anaesthetist present. The anaesthetist will administer a twilight sedation before Dr Moloney does the injection so that Dr Moloney can take as long as is necessary to get the needle into the right spot without causing pain or anxiety to you. As this is performed as a day procedure you will need somebody to drive you home. The hospital will ring you to tell you what time to arrive and after the procedure your blood pressure and limb movements will be monitored prior to getting you up and sending you home usually by mid afternoon.

Some patients can manage their pain by having epidural injections at regular intervals. Just because an injection has worked for the first time does not always mean that a second or third injection is going to be beneficial. In other words injections can become less effective and if this occurs it may be time to look at other options.