Complications of cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Jul;89(7):601-7. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3181e2d07c.


Although cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections are used in the treatment of radicular pain, there are a number of major and minor complications reported in the medical literature. These complications are limited to retrospective studies, retrospective survey studies, case reports, and data obtained from studies evaluating the benefit of cervical transforaminal steroid injections. Thus, the data are limited in value with regard to identifying evidence-based recommendations for future research. We aim to review and critically evaluate literature focusing on the incidence and clinical presentations of major complications associated with cervical transforaminal steroid injections. The goal of this review is to identify pertinent journal information that aids in the improvement in clinical care and guides future research by increasing the awareness of the potential major complications associated with this procedure and their presentations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blindness, Cortical / epidemiology
  • Blindness, Cortical / etiology
  • Brain Edema / epidemiology
  • Brain Edema / etiology
  • Cerebral Infarction / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Infarction / etiology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injections, Epidural / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Radiculopathy / diagnosis
  • Radiculopathy / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seizures / epidemiology
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / etiology
  • Steroids / adverse effects*
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Survival Rate


  • Steroids