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Diagnostic Epidurography

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

There is very little preparation needed for this procedure. In fact, you may decide to go ahead with this procedure during your initial consultation at our Midtown Manhattan outpatient clinic. The procedure will be fully explained to you before you decide to proceed.  

Please bring any previous imaging study results (MRI, CT, x-rays) such as films, reports, or CD-ROMs to your initial appointment. If you do not have current images, we may refer you to have them done prior to the procedure.

If you come by car, you will need a driver to take you home after your appointment. You will be able to go home unaccompanied via subway or taxi.

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

Please be prepared to discuss any medications that you are currently on with our physician, or bring your medication bottles with you to your appointment.

During the Procedure

An epidurogram is done under x-ray-guidance (fluoroscopy) at the desired location (also known 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 physician to document how the contrast dye disperses.

Once complete, your physician 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.

Possible side effects

Although side effects from this procedure are rare, our physician will review any possibilities with you before your procedure.  Possible side effects include 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 less than 5% of patients and usually disappear within 1-3 days after the injection.  If you experience any side effects, please feel free to contact us at any time.