This is an injection of a small amount of cortisone steroid and anaesthetic into a joint or soft tissue (bursa) to temporarily reduce inflammation and pain. It is common in areas such as shoulders, hips, knees, wrists, elbows etc. The needle we use is smaller than a needle used for a blood test.
Who performs the injection?
A highly trained and specialised radiologist will perform the procedure under CT or Ultrasound guidance.
Are there side effects?
Injections are usually quite safe, and it is very rare that complications would arise. The steroid can sting for a few seconds while it is being injected, but this quickly goes away. You may have some pain at the injection site for the rest of the day. If you notice persistent pain, redness or swelling at the injection site or if you have a fever over the next few days, please call your doctor. Try to rest the joint or area that has been injected for 24 hours after the injection to aid recovery.
Is there preparation?
Injections are usually performed after previous imaging such as an x-ray or ultrasound. This is used to first diagnose the problem and help the radiologist plan the injection. Therefore, a diagnostic scan of the affected area may be required before the injection.
Sometimes before a radiologist will perform the procedure, they may request blood thinning medication to be ceased being taken. If this is the case, the receptionist will let you know which medication needs to be stopped and for how long.
What Medications Are Injected?
Bupivacaine or marcaine – a slower acting and longer lasting local anaesthetic.
Cortisone – a strong long-lasting anti-inflammatory steroid. It can take several days to work, but its effect can last for months.