The Effectiveness of Lumbar Transforaminal Injection of Steroid for the Treatment of Radicular Pain: A Comprehensive Review of the Published Data.

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Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.)


OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of lumbar transforaminal injection of steroid for the treatment of radicular pain.

DESIGN: Comprehensive systematic review.

OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome of interest was the proportion of individuals with reduction of pain by ≥50%. Additional outcomes of interest were a more-than-two-point reduction in pain score, patient satisfaction, functional improvement, decreased use of pain medication, and avoidance of spinal surgery.

RESULTS: For patients with disc herniations, using the criterion of ≥50% reduction in pain, success rates across included studies (range) were 63% (58-68%) at one month, 74% (68-80%) at three months, 64% (59-69%) at six months, and 64% (57-71%) at one year. For patients with lumbar spinal stenosis, success rates across included studies (range) were 49% (43-55%) at one month, 48% (35-61%) at three months, 43% (33-53%) at six months, and 59% (45-73%) at one year, but there was a lack of corroboration from appropriately controlled studies.

CONCLUSIONS: There is strong evidence that lumbar transforaminal injection of steroids is an effective treatment for radicular pain due to disc herniation. There is a lack of high-quality evidence demonstrating their effectiveness for the treatment of radicular pain due to spinal stenosis, though small studies suggest a possible benefit. Lumbar transforaminal injection of nonparticulate steroids is as effective as injections with particulate steroids.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)