Transforaminal epidural steroid injections in cervical spinal disease with moderate to severe disability: Comparative study in patients with or without surgery

Jae Young Hong, Jin Sung Park, Seung Woo Suh, Jae Hyuk Yang, Si Young Park, Bo Taek Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Despite many clinical trials on cervical epidural steroid injections, the indications for and long-standing outcomes of this treatment remain controversial. We evaluated the outcomes and indications for transforaminal cervical epidural steroid injection (TCESI) in patients with moderate to severe disability.We prospectively gathered data from patients with 1 or 2-level cervical degenerative disease (herniated disc, foraminal stenosis) with moderate to severe disability (3.5 < initial visual analog scale < 6.5, 15 < Neck Disability Index < 35) and greater than 12 weeks of pain, despite conservative treatment. Patients with persistent disability and those who desired surgical intervention underwent decompression surgery. The clinical and demographic characteristics were compared between groups.Of the 309 patients who underwent TCESI, 221 (72%) did not receive surgical treatment during the 1-year follow-up period. The remaining 88 patients (28%) underwent surgery at a mean of 4.1 months after initial TCESI. Patients who underwent injection alone showed a significant decrease in disability and pain that persisted until the 1-year follow-up visit (P < .05). In patients who underwent surgery, the mean disability and pain scores after injection did not decrease for several months, although the scores significantly decreased up to 1 year after surgery (P < .05).The TCESI significantly decreased pain and disability in the moderate to severe disability group up to 1 year after injection. We recommend cervical TCESI as an initial treatment with moderate to severe disability patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere19266
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1


  • Cervical spinal disease
  • Spinal surgery
  • Transforaminal cervical epidural steroid injection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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