Are you suffering from radiating pain in your neck or back? If pain medication and exercise haven’t helped, you may want to try a lumbar epidural steroid injection or LESI. Thanks to Aaron Jacob, Chief Anesthetist at MCH, you can now receive these injections at our Hospital.

What is a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection or LESI?

LESI is an injection of corticosteroids into the space just outside the covering (the dura) of the spinal cord in your lower back. The anesthesia in a LESI is much less potent, and it’s a very safe procedure. All LESIs are administered by Aaron Jacob, Chief Anesthetist at Mountains Community Hospital. Aaron received his MS in Anesthesia from Georgetown University. He’s administered over 2,000 epidurals for different reasons. “LESIs are a great option for people with herniated discs, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis,” says Jacob.

Here’s what some of his patients had to say about the procedure.

“My name is Denise Swart. I was diagnosed with severe degenerative disc disease and have been in extreme back pain. Aaron Jacob suggested I have a LESI injection. I had a series of 3. This injection has taken the pain away and has given me my mobility back.

Lake Arrowhead resident, Suzanne Brown, writes: “My outpatient procedure was performed in the OR by Aaron Jacob. Aaron and the staff were extremely professional, courteous and caring. I have lived in the mountains for over 40 years and am thankful to have doctors and a hospital within 10 minutes of home!”

How many injections do I need? How often can I have an injection?

In general, you will receive a series of 3 injections over a 3-month period for maximum pain relief. If the injections are successful, most patients will experience at least 6 months of pain relief. You may return for future injections. Jacob notes, “there is an issue with getting too many steroid injections. I like to limit injections to a few a year, so the body has a chance to return to its normal balance.”

How long does the procedure take and what should I expect?

The procedure takes about 45 minutes. The vast majority of patients do not require sedation for the procedure, however, light sedation is available. Patients receiving sedation must have a responsible adult drive them home.

You will be seated on an operating table during the procedure. The procedure site will be sterilized. A local anesthetic will be injected into your skin to numb it. The epidural needle is then inserted through the numbed skin and advanced into the epidural space. Then the corticosteroid will be slowly injected. It is common to feel increased pressure during this part of the procedure. Once the injection is complete, the needle will be withdrawn and a dressing will be applied.

How long before the pain relief takes effect?

Some patients will experience immediate relief. Usually it takes 3 to 7 days for the steroid medication to take effect. Often a series of 3 injections is prescribed to achieve a good level of pain relief.

 Want to learn more?

If you think you are a candidate for an LESI, talk to your doctor or Aaron Jacob at (909) 436-3100 with your questions. LESIs are offered Monday – Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Submitted by Kim McGuire

Director of Community Development