Paraplegia after intracord injection during attempted epidural steroid injection in an awake-patient

Anesth Analg. 2005 Oct;101(4):1209-1211. doi: 10.1213/01.ANE.0000175765.76237.0A.


Epidural steroid injection is recommended in patients with back ache from spinal and radicular pain or pain suggestive of radiculopathy. During needle placement and injections, clinicians often rely on the patient's complaint of paresthesia or shooting pain along the nerve root, dura, or cord in case a needle pierces these areas. We report the accidental intracord injection of steroid solution during epidural block using fluoroscopy in a conscious patient, which caused paraplegia. This case suggests failure of undue reliance on a patient reporting pain in the vicinity of needle puncturing the spinal cord structures.

Implications: Intracord injection of triamcinolone acetate and local anesthetic, resulting in permanent paraplegia, may occur in conscious patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Injections, Epidural
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia / etiology*
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects*
  • Triamcinolone / administration & dosage
  • Triamcinolone / adverse effects*
  • Wakefulness


  • Triamcinolone