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Bursa Injection

In many areas of the body, muscles and tendons must slide over and against one another during movement. At each of these places there is a bursa, a small sac of lubricating fluid, to help the muscles and tendons move without friction. When the bursa sac becomes inflamed, pain can result each time the tendon has to move over the bone. The pain may eventually be present at rest and may even cause a problem while sleeping. Steroid medication injected into your bursa can help reduce the inflammation and alleviate the pain.


What to Expect?

  • We’ll give you a call before your appointment to talk through preparation instructions and your past imaging exams.
  • If your exam requires contrast, we’ll discuss any special requirements with you.
  • Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, nursing, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • On the day of your exam, please arrive 15 minutes early for check-in. If instructed to do so, please bring prior imaging results with you.
  • Contact your doctor before you stop taking any medication.
  • Please arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure.
  • When you arrive, you will be led to a changing room and given a pair of scrubs to wear for your exam. You will be given a locker to store your clothes, and anything else you may have with you during your exam.
  • Using X-ray guidance, a radiologist will insert a thin needle and inject contrast solution into the bursa thought to be causing your pain. The contrast solution is designed to highlight your anatomy to help ensure precise targeting of the nerve.
  • Next, the radiologist will slowly release a combination of anti-inflammatory (steroid) and anesthetic (numbing) medications into the area.
  • You may experience some slight pressure or discomfort during the injection.
  • We may ask you to wait after the procedure so our clinic staff can monitor your symptoms before you leave.
  • When your scan is complete, you’ll be escorted back to the changing room so you can change out of the scrubs and back into your clothing.
  • Once you have changed, your appointment is complete. You do not need to check out with the front desk when you leave.
  • You may experience numbness and/or relief from your symptoms for up to six hours after the injection.
  • The beneficial effects of the steroids usually require two to three days to take hold, but may take as long as five to seven days. Your usual symptoms may then return and possibly be worse than usual for a day or two. Results will vary.
  • If an initial injection provided a certain amount of relief, a second injection might strengthen the pain relief effect. Also, if your pain subsides, but begins to return weeks or months later, additional injections are possible.
  • If there is no change in your symptoms after a week, your doctor may want to investigate other possible sources for your pain.

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