Temporary neurologic deficit after cervical transforaminal injection of local anesthetic

Pain Med. 2004 Jun;5(2):202-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2004.04028.x.


Objective: To describe the effects of spinal cord block after injection of local anesthetic into a cervical radicular artery.

Design: Case report.

Setting: Neurology practice specializing in spinal pain. Interventions. A patient underwent a C6-7 transforaminal injection. Contrast medium indicated correct and safe placement of the needle.

Results: After the injection of local anesthetic, the patient developed quadriplegia. The injection was terminated. The neurologic impairment resolved after 20 minutes observation.

Conclusion: Despite correct placement of the needle for a cervical transforaminal injection, injectate may nevertheless enter a cervical radicular artery. Whereas local anesthetic, so injected, appears to have only a temporary effect on spinal cord function, particulate steroids may act as an embolus and cause permanent impairment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Local / adverse effects*
  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Epidural / adverse effects
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage
  • Lidocaine / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain, Intractable / drug therapy*
  • Pain, Intractable / etiology
  • Quadriplegia / etiology*
  • Radiculopathy / complications


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Lidocaine