What is Steroid Injections?
A steroid, when injected, is a locally active medication that reduces inflammation and scar tissue volume. Injections can be a very effective treatment for painful conditions such as trigger finger, carpal tunnel syndrome, de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, osteoarthritis, hypertrophic scarring and occasionally keloid scars.
What are the non-surgical and surgical options available?
Often a steroid injection is a first line treatment for a number of conditions. If the symptoms and signs completely resolve on a permanent basis, then no other treatment is necessary and the need for a surgical intervention is prevented.
How long do the results last for?
Steroid injections are usually painful for 1-2 days and then take approximately six weeks to take effect. Occasionally the effects of the steroid are temporary (lasting 6-9 months) or incomplete in which case the steroid injection should be repeated. If the steroid injection fails, or an immediate solution is required, surgical alternatives will be explored if appropriate.
What are the risks?
Non-surgical treatment has minimal risk. There is a small theoretical risk of an allergic reaction to the steroid, if a person has not had these injections before. The injection sites occasionally bruise and can swell. Infection is a small risk, like with any injection and would be treated with antibiotics, but if injecting around the tendons, infection may require an emergency operation, but this is extremely rare. Injection into the skin or fat beneath can cause fat loss and lightening of the overlying skin.
What are the success rates?
The majority of patients obtain good symptomatic relief from receiving occasional steroid injections and can keep their symptoms at bay by repeating these injections.
How much does the surgery cost?
What general advice is there?
The area should be elevated for 48 hours following injection and the patient must be vigilant for signs of infection.
Facts for Steroid Injections
- Surgery duration: 30 minutes In clinic
- Type of anaesthesia: Usually local anaesthetic only
- Time in hospital: 2 hours
- Time off work: 2 days
- Recovery time: 5 days
- First follow up appointment: 6 weeks
- Total number of follow up appointments: 1
- Pain management: Simple pain relief with tramadol at night for 1-2 nights
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