Can I help reduce my spinal pain after surgery?

Overview

The Racz epidural procedure is done to reduce scar tissue formation that surrounds and compress nerves in the epidural space of the spine, so that the pain relieving medications such as cortisone can reach the affected areas. The Racz epidural procedure is carried out to reduce pain and compression caused by scarring

What causes epidural scarring?

Scarring in the epidural space usually happens from excessive bleeding  in the epidural space during the healing process where the epidural fat is taken over by the fibrotic tissue, soon after a  major spine surgery. The scarring if tissues may naturally occur subsequent to surgical intervention. Also scarring may occur when a disc herniates or damaged, leaking its contents

How long does the procedure take?

The Racz epidural procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. Can be done in a single sitting or with an interval of 3 injections in a period of 12 months. A thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the epidural space and guided straight to the area of scarring. The whole procedure is done with the X-ray guidance with an IV sedation if required

What is actually injected?

The injections contain the following medications

  • A mixture of local anesthetic
  • Steroid medication
  • Concentrated sterile salt solution to soften scar tissue
  • Contrasting pigmentation

Will the injection hurt?

The procedure includes injecting a needle through the skin and deep into the tissues. There might be a little bruising, or feel like getting a tetanus shot or a mild skin prick. The whole area is numbed using local anesthesia before the catheter is actually inserted

What should I expect during and after the procedure?

The Racz epidural procedure is carried out by the patient lying on his or her stomach. The skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution prior to the procedure is initiated, the X-ray guidance is used to make sure the catheter is placed

Soon after the procedure you will be able to gradually carry on with your routinely activities. Your legs might be slightly numb, your pain may be potentially reduced. Though the pain reduction may last only for a few hours. You are strictly recommended to prevent driving after the procedure

How long will the effects of the medication last?

Immediately the local anesthesia will take action. However, the relief may last up to a few hours. The cortisone injections initiate working within 3 to 7 days and the effects may last from days to months