Cortisone (Steroid) Injection
This procedure allows a small dose of medication to be injected into a localized and specific area of concern while keeping potential side effects to a minimum. It can also confirm the origin of your pain - considered a "diagnostic" injection. This procedure can be used to treat joint pain or arthritis, or inflammation of a bursa or around a tendon (tenosynovitis).
Relief may last 3-6 months and, if successful, repeat injections can be performed up to four times per year.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY PROCEDURE?
- Take all prescribed medications as directed. If you are on anticoagulation drugs (Plavix, Coumadin, Warfarin, etc.) you may need to have an international normalized ratio (INR) test and temporarily stop your medication prior to the procedure. Please inform our booking coordinators so that they can discuss this in more detail with you.
- Diabetics: Please note that cortisone can cause a temporary increase in blood sugar. Please monitor your blood sugar closely and if you have any concerns, consult with your doctor.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
- You may experience discomfort, so please have someone accompany you on the day of your test. It may be more convenient to have someone else drive you home.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY PROCEDURE?
- We may provide you with a comfortable clinic gown to change into (depending on the area being treated).
- A team member will explain the consent form, procedure details, and answer any questions.
- We will then escort you to our treatment suite where you will meet the radiologist who will clean the skin and inject a local anesthetic, similar to the freezing you get at the dentist.
- After the location is confirmed with X-ray or ultrasound guidance, the anti-inflammatory and long-lasting freezing will be injected using a thin, sterile needle.
- You will be assessed post-injection by our team and, if there are no concerns, you will be free to leave.
- First 24 hours: Keep the treatment area clean. Leave the Band-Aid on. Do not shower.
- First 48 hours: Avoid bathtubs, hot tubs, and pools. Avoid strenuous activity and lifting.
- After one week: You may resume physiotherapy. Be mindful of your pain and stop if it hurts too much. Notify your physiotherapist that you have had this injection so they can modify your exercises if necessary.
- Watch for infection: If you develop worsening pain, skin redness at the site of injection, or a temperature greater than 38.5°C, please proceed to an urgent care or emergency centre.
- If you have pain or other symptoms beyond 48 hours after your injection, please call our office at 403-568-3890 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org during business hours. You may apply heat and ice to the treatment area.
- Diabetics: Note that cortisone can cause a temporary increase in blood sugar. Please monitor your blood sugar closely and, if you have any concerns, consult with your doctor.
WHEN WILL I SEE RESULTS?
- After your injection, the freezing may last for a few hours. Your symptoms may return until the steroid takes effect in 3-7 days. Please track your symptom response to share with your physician.
- A steroid injection typically provides three months of symptom relief. If an injection does not help relieve your symptoms, then you may need further evaluation by your referring doctor for another cause of your symptoms.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
This exam is covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan. It is not currently offered at our Saskatchewan clinic.