Effectiveness of Bilateral Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injections in Degenerative Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Patients With Neurogenic Claudication: A Case Series.


Aurora Back and Spine Program, Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center


BACKGROUND: As our population ages, neurogenic claudication (NC) from central canal stenosis of the lumbar spine is becoming an increasingly common condition. Studies have been undertaken to assess the efficacy of caudal, interlaminar, or unilateral transforaminal epidural injections, but bilateral transforaminal epidural injections (BTESIs) have not been evaluated to date.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the therapeutic value and long-term effects of fluoroscope-guided BTESIs in patients with NC from degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis (DLSS) of the central spinal canal.

DESIGN: Case series.

SETTING: Single institution spine clinic.

PATIENTS: Twenty-six adults between the ages of 40 and 90 years with a diagnosis of DLSS and a history of subacute or chronic NC.

METHODS/INTERVENTIONS: Patients meeting inclusion criteria received fluoroscope-guided BTESI of local anesthetic and steroid at the level immediately below the most stenotic level. Patient self-reported pain level, activity level, and overall satisfaction were recorded by telephone interview at 1, 3, and 6 months after injection by an independent observer.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Pain score and Swiss Spinal Stenosis score at baseline, 1, 3, and 6 months.

RESULTS: Of the 22 participants eligible for analysis, 20, 19, and 18 had follow-up data available at 1, 3, and 6 months, respectively. Reduction in numeric pain scale score of at least 50% was noted in 30% of participants at 1 month, 53% at 3 months, and 44% at 6 months. Swiss Spinal Stenosis subscale scores indicated a significant reduction in the proportion of participants reporting the presence of severe pain in the back, buttocks, and legs (particularly the back or buttocks) at 1, 3, and 6 months of follow-up compared with baseline (P < .05). The proportion of participants reporting severe weakness in the legs or feet also decreased after injection and was statistically significant at 3 months of follow-up (P = .04).

CONCLUSIONS: Fluoroscope-guided BTESI was moderately effective in reducing pain, improving function, and achieving patient satisfaction in patients with NC from DLSS at the central spinal canal in this clinical case series.

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