OBJECTIVES To compare the outcomes of patients after interlaminar computed tomography (CT)-guided epidural injections of the lumbar spine with particulate vs. non-particulate steroids.
METHODS 531 consecutive patients were treated with CT-guided lumbar interlaminar epidural injections with steroids and local anaesthetics. 411 patients received a particulate steroid and 120 patients received a non-particulate steroid. Pain levels were assessed using the 11-point numerical rating scale (NRS) and overall reported 'improvement' was assessed using the Patients Global Impression of Change (PGIC) at 1 day, 1 week and 1 month post-injection. Descriptive and inferential statistics were applied.
RESULTS Patients receiving particulate steroids had statistically significantly higher NRS change scores (p = 0.0001 at 1 week; p = 0.0001 at 1 month). A significantly higher proportion of patients receiving particulate steroids reported relevant improvement (PGIC) at both 1 week and 1 month post injection (p = 0.0001) and they were significantly less likely to report worsening at 1 week (p = 0.0001) and 1 month (p = 0.017).
CONCLUSION Patients treated with particulate steroids had significantly greater pain relief and were much more likely to report clinically relevant overall 'improvement' at 1 week and 1 month compared to the patients treated with non-particulate steroids.
KEY POINTS • CT-guided epidural injections of the lumbar spine with particulate vs. non-particulate steroids. • Good outcomes with particulate steroids. • Less pain relief in patients with non-particulate steroids. • Less improvement in patients with non-particulate steroids.