Saline as the sole contrast agent for successful MRI-guided epidural injections

Martin Deli, Jan Fritz, Serban Mateiescu, Martin Busch, John A. Carrino, Jan Becker, Marietta Garmer, Dietrich Grönemeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess the performance of sterile saline solution as the sole contrast agent for percutaneous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided epidural injections at 1.5 T. Methods: A retrospective analysis of two different techniques of MRI-guided epidural injections was performed with either gadolinium-enhanced saline solution or sterile saline solution for documentation of the epidural location of the needle tip. T1-weighted spoiled gradient echo (FLASH) images or T2-weighted single-shot turbo spin echo (HASTE) images visualized the test injectants. Methods were compared by technical success rate, image quality, table time, and rate of complications. Results: 105 MRI-guided epidural injections (12 of 105 with gadolinium-enhanced saline solution and 93 of 105 with sterile saline solution) were performed successfully and without complications. Visualization of sterile saline solution and gadolinium-enhanced saline solution was sufficient, good, or excellent in all 105 interventions. For either test injectant, quantitative image analysis demonstrated comparable high contrast-to-noise ratios of test injectants to adjacent body substances with reliable statistical significance levels (p < 0.001). The mean table time was 22 ± 9 min in the gadolinium-enhanced saline solution group and 22 ± 8 min in the saline solution group (p = 0.75). Conclusion: Sterile saline is suitable as the sole contrast agent for successful and safe percutaneous MRI-guided epidural drug delivery at 1.5 T.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-755
Number of pages8
JournalCardiovascular and interventional radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • Nonvascular interventions
  • Pain
  • Spine/nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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