What is an Image Guided Nerve Root Sleeve Injection?

A Nerve Root Sleeve Injection is a procedure in which a local anaesthetic and steroid solution is injected to relieve pain from irritated and inflamed spinal nerves, which is sometimes caused by the compression of spinal discs.

Damaged or compressed nerves may result in symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness.  A nerve may not function properly due to trauma or inflammation. Injection of an anti-inflammatory such as cortisone, around the nerve sheath may suppress any inflammatory effect of the nerve, providing in most cases substantial pain relief.

A Nerve Root Sleeve Injection can be both therapeutic and diagnostic as it can also help to determine which nerve is causing the pain that you experience.

Therapeutically, to relieve leg or arm pain which is produced by pressure on a nerve root.  This is usually caused by a disc prolapse, but may also be due to bone compressing the nerve or other rarer causes.

Diagnostically a nerve root sleeve injection can help to determine which area within the spine is the cause of the problem. This can be extremely useful when surgery is being planned.

Before the Procedure

There are no specific preparation requirements for this procedure. However, it is recommended to stop taking certain blood thinning medications (i.e. Aspirin, Warfarin) several days before the procedure. Your referring Doctor will tell you if and when you need to discontinue ether medications.

During the Procedure

The Nerve Root Sleeve Injection will be performed by our interventional radiologist using a fluoroscopic imaging as guidance for pinpoint accuracy of the injection.

The area of your injection will be cleaned and injected with local anaesthetic. A fine needle will then be positioned and inserted just next to the nerve where it exits from the spine. The solution of anaesthetic and steroid will then be injected after confirmation with contrast administration.

The procedure itself takes approximately 30 minutes but you will be asked to stay in the clinic for a short period of observation.

After the Procedure

You may experience some limb numbness following the procedure and for this reason we advise for you to rest at the clinic for  30 minutes until you feel you are able to return home.

Please organise a designated driver to take you home as driving is not allowed for the remainder of the day. It is common to experience temporary relief however the more sustainable relief develops over time.

The local anaesthetic may cause numbness in your leg similar to
the facial numbness that occurs after a dental anaesthetic. This
may last 4 – 8 hours.

Procedure Risks

Risks and side effects are uncommon and if they do occur they are usually minor such as temporary limb tenderness or weakness.

We are here to help

Endovascular WA has a team of professional physicians that are skilled at providing effective pain management for conditions relating to nerve inflammation and compression injuries. We provide a number of pain relief procedures using CT, fluoroscopy and ultrasound guided injections.

  • Irritated or compression of spinal nerves (cervical and lumbar nerve root sleeve)
  • Lumbar sympathetic plexus block/chemical sympathectomy
  • Brachial and lumbar plexus blocks
  • Median nerve blocks (Carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve block for meralgia paraesthetica
  • Nerve entrapment syndromes
  • Occipital neuralgia (greater occipital nerve block)
  • Herniated Disks
Even though the injection may not result in bringing about permanent pain relief, significant pain relief may be achieved for a prolonged period of time, potentially if there is a delay in surgery.

If you have any further questions regarding Image Guided Nerve Root Sleeve Injections, please do not hesitate to contact our Subiaco rooms on (08) 9284 2900.