Distribution patterns of transforaminal injections in the cervical spine evaluated by multi-slice computed tomography
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- Anderberg, L., Säveland, H. & Annertz, M. Eur Spine J (2006) 15: 1465. doi:10.1007/s00586-005-0024-5
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Transforaminal injections are sometimes used for the diagnosis and treatment of painful conditions in the lumbar and to a lesser degree in the cervical spine. The technique is most often used when investigating/treating radiculopathy caused by degenerative disease. But how selective are the nerve root blocks? What possible structures other than the intended nerve root are affected from such injections? This study was undertaken in order to try to answer these questions, as no study focusing on the possible spread from the transforaminal selective nerve root blocks in the cervical spine has been performed earlier. In three groups of patients, each group including three patients, we injected three different volumes (0.6, 1.1 and 1.7 ml) with a transforaminal technique in the cervical spine. In all the injections, a small amount of contrast media was added. The spread of the injections were then investigated using multi-slice computed tomography with reconstructions. The imaging revealed a possible effect on other nerve roots than the intended ones when a larger volume was used for the root blocks. The spread was related to the injected volume as well as to local anatomy (size of foraminal area). In this study, only 0.6-ml injections could be accepted for being selective enough for diagnostic investigations.