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Predictors of successful treatment after transforaminal epidural steroid injections in patients with lumbar disc herniation.

BACKGROUND: Epidural steroid injections are common procedures used to treat lumbosacral radicular pain due to lumbar disc herniation (LDH). It is crucial for the clinician to anticipate which patients can benefit from interventional treatment options.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine the effect of radiological and clinical parameters on lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injections (TFESI)/local anesthetic injection outcomes in patients with LDH.

METHODS: This study included 286 patients with LDH (146 males and 140 females). All patients received a fluoroscopically guided TFESI (triamcinolone acetonide 40 mg, lidocaine 2%, and 2.5 ml of physiological saline). Patients were evaluated according to radicular pain, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale at baseline and 3 months after the injections. Demographic, clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings were recorded to assess the predictive factors for TFESI outcomes. Pfirrmann Grades 1 and 2 were classified as low-grade nerve root compression and Grade 3 was classified as highgrade nerve root compression.

RESULTS: Compared to baseline measurements there were significant improvements in radicular pain, ODI score, Laseque angle, and Schober test scores 3 months after injection. Improvements of at least 50% in radicular pain relief and the ODI functionality index were (n= 214) 82%, (n= 182) 70% respectively at 3 months. Correlation analyses revealed that a shorter duration of symptoms, lowgrade nerve root compression and foraminal/extraforaminal location on MRI findings were associated with a favorable response.

CONCLUSIONS: Lowgrade nerve root compression was a predictor of a favorable response to TFESI.

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