Between 1986 and 1995, we treated with foraminal injection of local anaesthetic and steroids 30 patients with severe lumbar radiculopathy secondary to foraminal and extraforaminal disc herniation which had not resolved with rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. They were assessed prospectively using standardised forms as well as the Low Back Outcome Score, and were reviewed at an average of 3.4 years (1 to 10) after injection by an independent observer (BKW). Relief of symptoms was obtained in 27 immediately after injection. Three subsequently relapsed, requiring operation, and two were lost to long-term follow-up. Thus 22 of the 28 patients available for long-term follow-up had considerable and sustained relief from their symptoms. Before the onset of symptoms 17 were in employment and, after injection, 13 resumed work, all but two in the same job. The average score before injection was 25 out of a possible 75 points. At follow-up, the overall average score was 54, and in those who had obtained relief of symptoms it had improved to a mean of 61. Based on these findings we recommend foraminal injection of local anaesthetic and steroids as the primary treatment for patients with severe radiculopathy secondary to foraminal or extraforaminal herniation of a lumbar disc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine