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Epidural in wrong disc space !?

SinmanSSinman Posts: 37
edited 11/17/2013 - 5:36 AM in Spinal Injections
I've been getting epidurals in my L45 when after getting a MRI it's actually my L3/4. Do you think this would make a big diffrence? Because I'm scheduled for fusion dec 20 now I'm left wondering if epidural in my L3/4 would make a diffrence since I've been getting them in my l4/5 instead?


  • I would think so. Is there anyway you can schedule an epidural for the proper disc to see if that helps any before the surgery?I'm a surgery as the last option type of gal, so I'd want to exhaust every effort before hand.
  • I agree I left a message with my epidural doctor today epidurals last me bought 3months
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    1 - The ESI in the wrong disc space is not going to help where you need it. So the injection for the most part was probably for naught.

    2 - How could the doctor inject in the wrong space? Anytime I have had an ESI, the nurse has asked me WHERE , the technician asked me WHERE, the doctor came in prior to the procedure and asked me WHERE and drew a mark on my back as to WHERE it was and the DISC level the injection was the target

    Then, after all of those pre-procedure checks, in the actual room where the procedure was to take place, there were two monitors.. One that was basically a fluoroscope / X-Ray to help guide the doctor with the injection. The second monitor was a script identifying the procedure order as to what and where. I remember going in for some of these ESIs and the doctor right before doing it, once again asked WHAT and WHERE. He had me look at the monitor for the X-Ray portion and for the written order. NO chance for error

    So, I guess that is what is most disturbing. How they could get the wrong disc level. That is very sloppy work.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I get them in my neck and they told me it travel up the spine about 4 levels. L4-5 might just be a more accessable level.
  • Did you have your MRI before your ESIs? Because the way you worded it sounds like you had the MRI after. This maybe why it was not done in the incorrect area. How did you find out that they were in the wrong place?
    I had ESIs for my L4-L5 disc and the PM doctors said that he was not able to get the needle in the space where it needed to go due to my spinal makeup. So he got it as close as he could and they tilted the table so the liquid would drain toward the area which needed it. The steroid does not stay in one precise area, it does spread out.
    If I were you I would wait to hear from the PM doctor and ask what their records indicate as to where the ESI was to be placed. I also agree with Ron, every time I went they would check double check and recheck what the location was, if you knew that is was suppose to be in L3-L4 and were asked then it's your error but if they didn't ask then I would consider going to a different PM doctor. But it all stems back to when you had your MRI.

    L4-L5 Herniated 02-02-2013 (Slipped on Ice)
    L4-L5 MicroD 08-07-2013, Reherniated 10-21-2013
    L4-L5 MicroD Revision 10-07-2013, Reherniated 10-17-2013
    L4-L5 PLIF/TLIF 10-02-2013
    Released From Surgeon & All Restrictions 03-06-2014
  • i get mine in my lumbar as well but they always help my thoracic area, my ribs always feel better afterwards as well. and sometimes my shoulders. I was told that the steroid travels up your spinal area and will help wherever it needs too.
  • SinmanSSinman Posts: 37
    edited 11/19/2013 - 4:41 AM
    I had a MRI but it was two years ago and it said l4/5 and l 3/4 minor bulges but at that time ! So I had a recent MRI and it's my l3/4 got a lot worse it's like blown out stenosis so I've been getting them 7 epidurals in my l4/5 not sure if it would make a tremendous diffrence in my l3/4
  • There are different kinds of epidurals according to my experience. Those that basically drip down the epidural space, and those that are actual level specific and are placed directly on a nerve root. Either way, I don't get why your doctors wouldn't update a 2 year old MRI before doing additional epidurals. I would definitely get an epidural at the proper level before moving forward with a fusion.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • goals for the injections. ESI's also called epidural steroid injections are done for two purposes, one purpose is somewhat diagnostic in nature, to see if the medications used in the injections bring some relief of the pain is a suspected area of a problem, and to see if the level/area is in fact the right area that is causing the problem. The second purpose is pain relief. Most injections work best if the injury is under 6 months old. The steroids are used to reduce inflammation in a suspected area that may be causing pain, and the lidocaine used in them is to soothe /numb the area as well. If this reduces the pain both immediately and over some time frame, the injections are considered a success....
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