CALL: 512-795-2225

World Class Spine Care In Austin, TX




Epidural Steroid Injection

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is an outpatient procedure indicated to treat your condition. This procedure consists of injecting cortisone and saline into the space around your spinal canal called the epidural space.

The dura is the thin lining that contains the spinal fluid and nerves. The epidural space is the area or space between this fluid filled sac and the bones of the vertebrae. Our goal is to place the tip of the needle near the sac, but not into it. If the needle is placed in the fluid-filled sac (through the dura), we have performed a spinal tap.

The injection is usually performed in the lumbar area at the level of the waist or belt line. If difficulty is encountered in that area, we sometimes place the needle lower at the end of the spine near the tailbone.

The procedure is most easily, comfortably and accurately performed if a fluoroscope is used to visualize the needle placement. A fluoroscope is an x-ray machine that allows us to see motion while we place the needle. For this reason, we perform epidural injections at the hospital where a fluoroscope is available.

image 1


Cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory drug. When injected, we hope that the anti-inflammatory effects of the drug will reduce the swelling and pain of the inflamed tissues and nerves that are causing your discomfort. Most patients experience some relief beginning within 24 hours following the injection. It can take 5 to 7 days to obtain relief. A few patients will get no relief at all. The duration of relief will vary depending on the underlying condition and its severity. The procedure can be repeated as frequently as weekly for three successive weeks. After that, we recommend waiting 3 to 4 months before repeating the injection or pursuing a different treatment plan.

What To Expect During The Procdedure

The procedure is done using strict, sterile technique. This requires a surgical type of cleansing of the skin and the use of sterile gloves and equipment. You will be awake during the procedure, and we will talk to you and tell you what to expect throughout the procedure. You will feel a needle stick when “local” anesthesia is injected to numb the skin and deeper tissues. When the cortisone and saline are injected, you will feel a deep pressure sensation and perhaps experience some pain. This is usually of very short duration.

Risks and Potential Complications

There are potential complications with this procedure. Occasionally, the dura is penetrated with the needle. This can lead to a headache that may last up to 24 hours. Infection is another potential complication, although quite rare. Bleeding around the area of the injection can also occur but is also very rare.

Strict precautions are taken to prevent complications and problems. If, however, the needle passes into the spinal fluid, you are advised to stay in bed and rest for 24 hours. This will usually prevent any further problems. If you appear to have any infected skin lesions near where the needle would be placed, the procedure will not be performed until the infection is cleared.

image 2
image 3

Bleeding is best avoided by not using anti-coagulant medication or blood-thinning drugs, including aspirin or other anti-inflammatory pills used to treat arthritic conditions. If you have questions about this or anything else, ask your doctor before the procedure.

It is advisable to have someone accompany you to the facility, so that if necessary, they can drive you home. If no complications occur, you can continue with normal activity, including returning to work, immediately following the injection.

Procedure Costs

There will be three separate charges for this procedure:

  • The doctor’s fee
  • A charge by the hospital for use of the outpatient facilities
  • A charge for the use of the fluoroscope

If you would like to make a payment, please click here.

Who Is a Candidate for ESI?

Candidates for Epidural Steroid Injections typically suffer from persistent back pain, leg pain, or numbness that has not responded to conservative treatments like physical therapy or medication. The experienced team evaluates each patient's symptoms, medical history, and imaging studies to determine if ESI is a suitable treatment to manage their pain effectively.

Image 4

Benefits of ESI

The benefits of ESI include targeted pain relief and reduced inflammation, allowing patients to experience significant improvement in their symptoms and quality of life. By delivering medication directly to the affected area, ESIs can provide long-lasting pain relief, enhance physical function, and minimize the need for systemic medications or invasive surgical procedures.

image 4-1

Why Choose Us

Choosing the Central Texas Spine Institute in Austin for your Epidural Steroid Injections ensures you receive expert care from a team of skilled spine specialists dedicated to delivering exceptional results. The team prioritizes patient safety, comfort, and satisfaction, providing individualized treatment plans and thorough follow-up care to support you throughout your recovery process.

The Importance of Second Opinions

Obtaining a second opinion is crucial for ensuring accurate diagnosis and exploring different treatment options. Second opinions provide patients with additional perspectives from different medical professionals, which can lead to a better understanding of their condition and potential treatment plans. It can also help patients feel more confident in their healthcare decisions and provide peace of mind knowing that they have explored all available options. Additionally, in complex or severe cases, a second opinion can help confirm the initial diagnosis and prevent unnecessary procedures or treatments. It is essential for patients to advocate for their health and well-being by seeking second opinions when facing significant medical decisions.


If you are seeking a minimally invasive solution to manage your back or leg pain and regain functionality, the team at the Central Texas Spine Institute in Austin is here to help. Contact our spine institute to schedule a consultation and explore how Epidural Steroid Injections can alleviate your discomfort and improve your overall well-being.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office at the Central Texas Spine Institute.