The safety of CT-guided epidural steroid injections in an older patient cohort

Andrew J. Fenster, Kevin Fernandes, Alan L. Brook, Todd S. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are a common method for treating lower back pain, which is one of the most prevalent health-related complaints in the adult U.S. population. Although the safety of CT-guided ESIs has been extensively studied in adults, there is limited data concerning the procedure’s safety profile in an older patient population. Objective: This retrospective study analyzed safety data among a single-center cohort of patients > 65 years-old who received one or more CT-guided interlaminar ESIs from 2012 to 2015. Study Design: An Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved retrospective chart review. Setting: University hospital center. Methods: A total of 688 CT-guided ESI procedures were evaluated and a linear regression analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between dose length product (DLP), body mass index (BMI), procedure duration, and kVp/mA settings. Further analysis was performed on a sample of long procedure time, average-DLP and high-DLP procedures. Results: Average age was 75.77 years, with 44% having a BMI > 30. The mean DLP was 55.58 mGy x cm and the mean procedure duration was 5.94 minutes. All procedures were technically successful and no complications were observed during or after any of the procedures, including at one-month follow-up office visits. The kVp and mA settings were the strongest predictors of DLP, followed by procedure time. The high-DLP cases had a greater number of needle placement series, more intervertebral disc spaces included in each planning series and higher machine settings (kVp 120; mA 87.5) than the average-DLP cases (kVp 100; mA 49.9). Limitations: This study is limited by its retrospective design. Conclusion: CT-guided interlaminar ESIs can be performed safely, with low procedure times, relatively low DLP’s and without complications in an older patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1139-E1146
JournalPain physician
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Back pain
  • CT-guidance
  • Cervical spine
  • Dose length product
  • Epidural steroid injection
  • Interlaminar approach
  • Lumbar spine
  • Older adults
  • Radiation exposure
  • Thoracic spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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