CT-guided cervical transforaminal steroid injections: Where should the needle tip be located?

J. K. Hoang, D. P. Massoglia, M. A. Apostol, C. D. Lascola, J. D. Eastwood, P. G. Kranz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The aim of CT-guided CTSI is to inject medication into the foraminal region where the nerve root is inflamed. The optimal location for needle placement and therapeutic delivery, however, remain uncertain. The purpose of this study was to investigate how needle positioning and angle of approach impact the transforaminal distribution of injectate. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed fluoroscopic images from 90 CT-guided CTSI procedures for needle-tip location, needle angle, and contrast distribution. Needle-tip position was categorized as either foraminal zone, junctional, or extraforaminal. Distribution of contrast injected immediately before steroid administration was categorized as central epidural, intraforaminal, or extraforaminal in location. Needle-tip location and angle were correlated with contrast distribution. RESULTS: The needle tip was most commonly placed in the junctional position (36 cases, 40%), followed by foraminal (30 cases, 33%) and extraforaminal (24 cases, 27%) locations. Intraforaminal contrast distribution was highest when the needle location was foraminal (30/30, 100%) or junctional (35/36, 97%), compared with extraforaminal (7/24, 29%) (P value <.0001). There was no relationship between needle angle and contrast distribution. CONCLUSIONS: Needle-tip location at the outer edge of the neural foramen (junctional location) correlated well with intraforaminal distribution of contrast for CT-guided CTSI and compared favorably with injectate distribution following foraminal zone needle positioning. Junctional needle positioning may be preferred over the foraminal zone by some proceduralists. Extraforaminal needle positioning resulted in less favorable contrast distribution, which may significantly diminish the therapeutic efficacy of CTSI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-692
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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