Objective To describe an “indirect” cervical nerve root
injection technique with a dorsal approach that should carry
less inherent risk than the “direct” cervical transforaminal
injection approach, and to compare the immediate postinjection results of the two procedures. Materials and methods The indirect and direct cervical nerve root injection procedures are described in detail. Fifty-three consecutive patients receiving the indirect nerve root injections during 2009–2010 were age- and gendermatched to 53 patients who underwent direct transforaminal nerve root injections performed in 2006. Pain level data were collected immediately before and 20–30 min after each procedure. The percentages of pain change in the two groups were compared using the unpaired Student’s t test.
Results Fifty-two men (mean age 49) and 54 women (mean age 55) were included. The mean percentage of pain reduction for patients receiving indirect nerve root injections was 38.4% and for those undergoing the direct nerve root injections approach it was 43.2%. This was not significantly different (P=0.455). No immediate or late adverse effects were reported after either injection procedure. Conclusions The indirect cervical nerve root injection procedure is a potentially safer alternative to direct cervical transforaminal nerve root injections. The short-term pain reduction is similar using the two injection methods.