Intravascular uptake during fluoroscopically guided cervical interlaminar steroid injection at C6-7: a case report

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Mar;89(3):553-8. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2007.08.165.


We report 4 cases of intravascular venous uptake of contrast material during fluoroscopically guided cervical interlaminar epidural steroid injection at the C6-7 level. The blood vessel probably involved is the posterior internal vertebral venous plexus, which drains the interlaminar space and returns blood to the right atrium through the paired vertebral veins and right and left brachiocephalic veins. In all 4 cases, intravascular uptake occurred despite negative aspiration of blood before the contrast material was injected. All patients were successfully injected at the C7-T1 level. We recommend the use of fluoroscopic guidance and the injection of contrast to identify potential placement of the injection needle within the vascular space. Potential complications of intravascular venous uptake of contrast material and steroid solution are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervical Vertebrae*
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects
  • Extravasation of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Materials / blood*
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy / methods
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Injections, Epidural
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spinal Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Stenosis / drug therapy*
  • Steroids / administration & dosage*


  • Contrast Media
  • Steroids