Which Fluoroscopically Guided Procedure Is Right for You?

When you think about x-rays, you likely picture a still image. X-rays are useful in diagnosing broken bones and dislocated joints, but what if you need a continuous image? Continuous x-ray imaging, known as fluoroscopy, provides detailed moving images. In a way, fluoroscopy is like an “x-ray movie.” 

Here at the International Spine, Pain & Performance Center, our team of orthopedic specialists and sports medicine specialists are experts when it comes to fluoroscopically guided procedures. 

If you’re dealing with back pain or knee pain, you might wonder if this type of procedure is right for you. To learn more about our procedures — and discover which one might be right for you — keep reading.

What is a fluoroscopically guided procedure?

Fluoroscopy — a type of medical imaging — shows a continuous x-ray image on a screen in real-time. Fluoroscopically guided procedures rely on this “movie” to diagnose and/or treat a specific condition.

Examples of fluoroscopically guided procedures available in our office include: 

1. Epidural injections

An epidural injection consists of a saline wash, a local anesthetic, and a corticosteroid designed to reduce back pain. The injection is placed into your epidural space in your spine. Your provider uses the fluoroscopy to guide the needle in your epidural space as close to the affected area as possible. 

An epidural injection might be right for you if you have pain associated with sciatica, a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis.

2. PRP injections

Interventional orthopedic treatments, including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, also rely on the guidance of a fluoroscope. PRP injections promote healing and healthy tissue regenerations thanks to the healing growth factors in the injection. You might consider PRP injections if you have a knee injury, arthritis, back injury, or other sports injuries.

3. Spinal cord stimulator

Even though spinal cord stimulators don’t heal your back condition, they can reduce pain by sending an impulse that interferes with the nerve’s ability to send messages to the brain. In order to stimulate the right nerve, your provider relies on fluoroscopy to guide the wire (that stimulates your nerve) to the correct location. Because of the fluoroscopy, the placement of your spinal cord stimulator can be performed as a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

A spinal cord stimulator might be right for you if you’re looking for a non-drug method for managing back pain.

4. Radiofrequency ablation treatment

Is your nerve pain hard to manage? Radiofrequency ablation reduces pain by targeting your nerve with radiofrequency energy. The radiofrequency waves heat up  — and damage — the nerve, limiting its ability to send pain messages to your brain. Radiofrequency ablation can accurately pinpoint the damaged nerve thanks to the guidance of the fluoroscope.  

Radiofrequency ablation might be right for you if:

Radiofrequency ablation can reduce your reliance on pain medication and possibly avoid or postpone surgery.

If you’re living in pain and want to explore your options, give us a call to learn more about the available fluoroscopically guided procedures we offer. To book an appointment at one of our three locations, visit our website to request your appointment today.

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