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Professional Radiology and Outpatient Imaging Services

Procedure Prep - Pain Management

How should I prepare for my exam?

  • If you have an active infection and are taking antibiotics, the medication course must be complete prior to the procedure.
  • Inform us if you are or may be pregnant, or have allergies to medications or x-ray dye (contrast).
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to complete registration.
  • Bring your insurance card and a valid photo ID.

Depending on the injection procedure you are having, the following preps may also apply:

  • Do not eat solid food 2 hours prior to the appointment.
  • You may need someone to drive you home.
  • If you are taking blood thinners (Coumadin, Plavix or Ticlid), you will have to stop the medication prior to the procedure. Contact your healthcare provider before stopping any medication to determine if it is safe for you.

Are there medication restrictions for this procedure?

Yes. If you are on Coumadin, Heparin or Plavix, you will need to discontinue this medication prior to your procedure. You must consult your physician for approval before you stop taking your medication.

Can I eat or drink before my procedure?

You may consume only clear liquids for three hours prior to your exam. Medications other than those mentioned above may be taken with water. If you have diabetes, please follow your normal insulin schedule.

How much time should I allow?

Procedures typically take 30 minutes, but may vary depending on the injection ordered. Following your procedure, you will be monitored for at least 15 minutes before you can leave our imaging center.

What should I wear to my procedure?

Please wear comfortable clothing without metal zippers or other metal fasteners. For some procedures you may be asked to change into a cloth gown. Lockers are available to store your personal belongings.

What should I bring to my procedure?

If your previous imaging was not done at one of our locations, you may be asked to contact your former provider and request that your film be sent to us for a comparison study.. The radiologist will need this information to perform your procedure.

Please bring your insurance card. Your insurance company will be billed for the procedure. You will receive a bill for any co-pay or non-covered expenses.

You must bring a driver to take you home after your injection.

Will the injection be painful?

The amount and degree of discomfort that you will experience is highly variable depending on the injection that was ordered. Every attempt is made to maximize your comfort during the course of the procedure.

How does the procedure work?

X-ray is used to guide the placement of a needle to the area of pain in your body. Medication is then injected into the problem area. Please keep in mind that it may take up to one week before the medication takes effect.

What happens during my procedure?

Depending on the area to be injected, you will be positioned on an x-ray table on your stomach or back. The area will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution and a local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area where the needle will be inserted.

Fluoroscopy (a type of low-dose x-ray) is used to clearly view the area in real time, on a video monitor. This ensures exact placement of the needle during the procedure. After the needle is placed, contrast material is injected to confirm that the needle is in the correct location. Some patients feel a slight pressure sensation or discomfort as the contrast is injected. This is temporary and will gradually dissipate within a short time after the procedure.

Depending on the type of procedure you're having, the injection may contain one or both of the following:

  • Anesthetic, which helps give immediate pain relief.
  • Steroid preparation, which may provide longer relief of your symptoms.

After the procedure, you will be observed for a short time.

What happens after my procedure?

A summary of the procedure and findings will be sent to your healthcare provider.

Refrain from driving, rigorous activity and alcohol consumption for the remainder of the day. You can resume normal activity the next day. You may feel soreness at the needle insertion site for two to three days; you can use an ice pack to relieve any discomfort, up to 15 minutes per hour.

As with any procedure involving a needle, there is a small chance of infection or bleeding. Rarely there could be neural injury, headache, temporary numbness, weakness or facial flushing.

How will I feel after the procedure?

You will be able to move about freely, but may want to perform only light activity for the remainder of the day. You must bring a driver to take you home after your injection.

Should I see the radiologist for ongoing pain management care?

Since you have been referred for pain relief, you may be scheduled for one or a series of injections. Once you have completed your pain management injection(s), you should follow-up with your primary physician for ongoing care. You will need a referral from your primary physician for future pain management injections.