Background: A cervical transforaminal epidural (TFE) steroid injection is a useful treatment option for cervical radicular pain, but it carries a small risk of catastrophic complications. Several studies have reported that cervical facet joint (FJ) steroid injection can reduce cervical radicular pain through an indirect epidural spread. The aim of this retrospective comparative study was to evaluate the pain scores and functional disability in subjects receiving cervical FJ or TFE steroid injection for the treatment of cervical radicular pain due to foraminal stenosis (FS). Methods: We selected 278 patients 18 years of age and older who underwent cervical FJ (n = 130) or TFE (n= 148) steroid injection for cervical radicular pain. The primary outcomes included pain scores and functional disability during hospital visits one, three, and six months after the initial injection. Secondary outcomes were the proportion of responders and Medication Quantification Scale (MQS) scores. Adverse events and variables correlating with effectiveness one month after the initial injection were also evaluated. Results: The Numeric Rating Scale and Neck Disability Index scores showed a significant improvement one, three, and six months after the initial injection in both groups, with no significant differences between the groups. No significant differences were observed in the success rates of the procedure one, three, and six months after the initial injection for either group. There were no significant differences in MQS between the groups during the follow-up period. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that the injection method, age, sex, number of injections, FS severity, MQS, pain duration, and the presence of cervical disc herniation were not independent predictors of treatment success. Conclusion: The efficacy of FJ steroid injection may not be inferior to that of TFE steroid injection in patients with cervical radicular pain due to FS.
- Spinal stenosis
- Zygapophyseal joint