Medical Media Images

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What is an Epidural Injection? Shown and explained with Color MRI Images

Epidural Injections are commonly performed for Sciatica and Childbirth. The Epidural Space is a small space along our Spine which travels from the Neck to the Low Back. It is located just behind the Spinal Cord and the Spinal Fluid which bathes the Spinal Cord and Spinal Nerves.

Let's first take a look at the Epidural Space on a Color MRI Image to get a better understanding of the Anatomy. The large whole body Color MRI Image shows you where the smaller Low Back (lumbar spine) Image is taken from. The Epidural Space is shown in Pink. Notice how it is located just behind the Spinal Cord (yellow) and Spinal Fluid (light blue). This space is the target of Epidural Injections.


Annotated Color MRI Lumbar Spine Anatomy Epidural Space
Color MRI showing the Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine with a focus on the Epidural Space


When medications are injected into the Epidural Space, they can travel from this space to the Spinal Nerves, which are the target of the Epidural Injection. Steroid medications are commonly injected to help with Sciatica pain. These medications can reduce the inflammation of Spinal Nerves (Sciatica) produced by Disc Herniations and Spinal Stenosis. Local Anesthetic medications can anesthetize Spinal Nerves to control Labor Pain.

The next Color MRI Image shows an Epidural Injection. Notice how the Epidural Needle has to first travel through several Ligaments of the back of the Spine. This is an Interactive Image. As you move your mouse cursor over the Image, Interactive Tags appear. Each tag displays text to explain the important parts of the Image.


Color MRI Sagitall Lumbar Spine Epidural Injection
Interactive Color MRI of the Lumbar Spine showing an Epidural Injection


Next, we will take a look at a cross-section Image of the Spine. Together with the Images above, this will give you a better 3-Dimensional sense of the location of the Epidural Space. On the main Image on the right, the back of the Spine is at the bottom, the front at the top. The Epidural Space is shown in Pink again.


Axial Color MRI Lumbar Spine Anatomy and Epidural Space
Color MRI of the Lumbar Spine in cross-section showing the Anatomy with a focus on the Epidural Space

Now lets take a look at an Epidural Injection on the same cross-sectional view. Notice how the medication (green) which has been injected travels from the larger Epidural Space in the back, around the sides and then forward to the Spinal Nerves (yellow). This next Color MRI Image is Interactive. Just move your cursor over the Image to learn about each part of the Anatomy.


Axial Color MRI Lumbar Spine Epidural Injection Disc Herniation
Interactive Color MRI Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

Epidural Injections are generally safe and effective when performed by experienced medical professionals (Anesthesiologists, Nurse Anesthetists, Pain Management Specialists). One potential complication can occur if the Needle travels too far which can puncture the sac surrounding the Spinal Cord and Spinal Fluid. This can cause a small leak of Spinal Fluid which can result in a severe "Spinal Headache". These Headaches are typically worse when patients are upright and resolve when supine. They almost always resolve in a matter of days. Hydration, pain medications and caffeine can help with the symptoms. In severe cases an "Epidural Blood Patch" can be performed. This is an injection of a small amount of the patient's own blood into the area of the Epidural Space where Spinal Fluid is leaking. The injected blood forms a blood clot which can seal the small hole in the Spinal Fluid sack.

If you liked this blog, here are some other related topics:
1. What is a Spinal Fusion Surgery of the Low Back (Lumbar Spine)? Shown and explained with Color X-Ray Images
2.  What is a "Spondylolisthesis" of the Low Back (Lumbar Spine)? Shown and explained with Color X-Ray and Color MRI Images.
3. Fractured Vertebrae in the Low Back (Lumbar Compression Fracture) shown and explained with Color X-Ray and Color MRI Images
4. Spinal Stenosis of the Low Back (Lumbar Spine) shown and explained with Color MRI Images
5. Disc Herniations of the Low Back (Lumbar Spine) shown and explained with Color MRI Images
6. Lumbar (low-back) Artificial Disc Replacements shown and explained with thehelp of Color X-Rays
7. The Main "Sections" of our Back explained with a Color MRI of the Whole Body!


If you would like to learn more about how Medical Media Images produces Color X-Ray and Color MRI Images, here is a Video for you:



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