This is an injection of local anaesthetic and/or steroid into a joint. The injection aims to provide relief from your symptoms and will help to confirm that your symptoms arise from the joint.

Procedure

You will lie on the CT or x-ray table. This is usually on your back. The skin will be cleaned with antiseptic. A fine needle is inserted into the joint that your doctor has asked us to inject using an aseptic technique. We use an x-ray (screening) or CT machine to guide the placement of the needle safely and accurately into the correct position. A small amount of X-ray contrast may be injected into the joint to confirm that the needle is in the correct location.

A long lasting anaesthetic (e.g. Ropivacaine) and a long acting steroid (e.g. Celestone) are most commonly injected together.

Risks / Side Effects

Joint injections are generally very safe.

Potential risks include infection within the soft tissues or joint.

Side effects which may occur include:

  • Increase in symptoms for up to 48 hours which will then settle
  • Increased blood sugar levels in diabetics
  • Local bruising
  • Insomnia, flushing and palpitations.

If X-ray contrast is administered there is a small risk of allergic reaction. This includes flushing, hives and difficulty breathing. Severe reactions are rare and life-threatening reaction extremely rare (1 in 170,000).

Before your Scan

No specific preparation is required and you may eat and drink before and after the procedure. If you are on any special drugs or have diabetes and are on insulin, take your usual medicines and diet.

Please inform us if you are on medication to thin your blood (eg. Warfarin, Aspirin or Clopidogrel), have an iodine allergy or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Other Information

You may experience some benefit from the local anaesthetic immediately following the injection which will usually wear off after 2-3 hours. It can take several days for the steroid to begin to work and may take up to 2 weeks for it to have maximum effect.

The effect of the steroid can last for a week, several months or years. Sometimes there is no pain relief from the injection.

Avoid strenuous activity for at least 48 hours after the injection.   Further rest of the area may be beneficial. Follow the advice of your referring doctor or physiotherapist.

If required, a simple analgesic such as paracetamol (Panadol) or an anti-inflammatory should be sufficient. An ice pack may also provide some relief.

Infection is a potential side effect – If you notice any fever or redness, swelling, or increased pain at the injection site after the first 2 days, notify your referring doctor or call the clinic where the injection was performed immediately.