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Diagnostic epidurography is performed to assess the structure of the epidural space in your spine. This procedure is done before epidural steroids are administered to ensure accurate delivery of this therapeutic material to the source of your pain.

Procedure preparation

A technologist or nurse will contact you 24-48 hours prior to your appointment to review medications you are currently taking, especially pain medications and blood thinners, discuss known allergies and your medical history, as well as answer your questions.

Contact your doctor before you stop taking any medication.

Please bring previous imaging study results (MRI, CT, x-rays) such as films, reports, or CD-ROMs, if available.

You will need a driver for your appointment. If you are unable to drive or arrange transportation, call us for assistance.

Please notify a member of our staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.

What to expect during the procedure

An epidurogram is done under x-ray-guidance (fluoroscopy) at the desire location (also know as “level”) in the spine, which may be cervical (upper), thoracic (middle), lumbar (lower), or sacral (bottom).

Once a needle has been carefully inserted into a central location in the spine, dye is injected. The x-ray allows your radiologist to document how the contrast dye disperses.

Once complete, your radiologist is able to make an informed diagnosis as to the source of your pain.

Most epidurographies are followed by an Epidural Steroid Injection into the source of your pain.

Potential side effects

Steroid medications may cause facial flushing, occasional low-grade fevers, hiccups, insomnia, headaches, water retention, increased appetite, increased heart rate, and abdominal cramping or bloating.

These side effects occur in only about 5% of patients and commonly disappear within 1-3 days after the injection.