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Carpal Tunnel Injection

Carpal tunnel injections can help diagnose the source of wrist pain and calm inflammation, resulting in long-term pain relief. The injections work by delivering local anesthetic (numbing medication) and anti-inflammatory steroid medications into the median nerve space in the wrist.  

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.
  • Although complications are rare, we will review possible side effects and risks with you prior to your exam so you can ask questions and decide if this exam is right for you.
  • 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 nerve area of the wrist thought to be causing your pain. The contrast solution is designed to highlight your anatomy to ensure precise targeting of the nerve thought to be causing your pain.
  • Next, a combination of anti-inflammatory (steroid) and anesthetic (numbing) medications will be injected into the problem area.
  • You may experience some slight pressure or discomfort during the injection. We might ask you how these symptoms differ from your usual symptoms.
  • You may be asked to wait an additional 30 minutes after the procedure so the clinic staff can monitor your symptoms before you leave.
  • When your procedure is complete, you’ll be escorted back to the changing room so you can change out of the scrubs and back into your clothing.
  • You may experience numbness and/or relief from your symptoms 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. Every patient is different and your results may vary.
  • If there is no change in your symptoms after a week, your doctor may want to investigate other possible sources for your pain.
  • You may be asked to keep track of how long relief lasts and report it to your physician; this information is useful when considering next steps.
  • If the injection blocked your pain effectively, but only for a short time, your physician may request additional injections or consider a procedure that offers more permanent relief.

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