Routine Epidural Steroid Injections Gone Bad
Epidural steroid injections (ESI), are a common outpatient surgical procedure prescribed for the treatment of chronic and/or severe neck or back pain that radiates to the extremities. A correctly-performed ESI done by a qualified medical provider can be extremely beneficial to the treatment of pain. However, if administered incorrectly, an epidural steroid injection can leave patients with severe injuries including nerve damage and paralysis. If you or someone you love was injured after receiving one of these injections, call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. at (713) 932-0777 for a free case evaluation.
What is an Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI)?
An epidural steroid injection is a minimally invasive procedure that provides pain relief in patients experiencing neck, arm, back, and leg pain as a result of inflamed spinal nerves. ESIs are delivered into the epidural space of the spine and work by flushing away the proteins that cause swelling. This area lies between the dura mater and the bony vertebra, making it very delicate. Relief from ESIs can last from days to years, giving your spinal condition time to improve with physical treatment. They are also known as transforaminal epidural steroid injections or simply “ESIs.”
Who Benefits From Epidural Steroid Injections?
ESIs benefit patients with severe radiating pain in their neck down to their arm or severe radiating pain in their back radiating to their leg area. The conditions that can cause this include:
- Herniated disc
- Joint cysts
- Narrowing of the spinal canal (stenosis)
Medical professionals have identified multiple short-term benefits associated with ESIs, including the ability to continue rehabilitative exercises.
Epidural Steroid Injection Negligence
Just like any medical treatment or procedure, there are cases when an epidural steroid injection is administered negligently. Whether the doctor failed to consider a patient’s medical history or the injection was placed incorrectly, no one undergoing treatment for severe pain should have to deal with the mental and physical damage associated with this kind of medical malpractice.
What is a Dural Sac Puncture a/k/a Thecal Sac Puncture?
The Dura or dural sac a/k/a thecal sac is a thin sheath that surrounds the spinal cord. The dura contains cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). When the person performing the epidural steroid injection does not place the needle in the correct position, this can result in a dural sac puncture. Puncture of the dural sac allows spinal fluid to lead out. The importance of this is that the brain is floating on cerebrospinal fluid. When you create a CSF leak in the thecal sac, the fluid supporting the brain may be drained away, leaving the brain sitting on the bone. This can result in severe headaches and ultimately lead to very serious conditions if not properly treated.
What are the Side-Effects Associated with Epidural Steroid Injections?
While most patients can walk around following an ESI procedure, minor side effects associated with the injection include:
- Facial flushing
- High blood sugar
- Increased localized pain
- temporary increased back or neck pain
Rare, more severe ESI injuries include:
- internal bleeding
- nerve damage and paralysis
- spinal headache from a dural puncture
Immediately consult an experienced medical professional if you suffer significant side effects after receiving an ESI.
Epidural Steroid Injection Lawsuit
For more information on what to do if you feel you have been negligently injured following a medical procedure, contact Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., today. There are many questions victims of medical malpractice do not think to consider following an injury. By consulting a medical malpractice attorney, you can ensure you know your rights.