Inadvertent Injection of a Cervical Radicular Artery Using an Atraumatic Pencil-Point Needle SPINE Smuck, M., Leung, D. 2011; 36 (3): E220-E223


Case report and review of the literature.To report the first case of inadvertent injection of a cervical radicular artery using an atraumatic pencil-point needle.Rare complications from cervical transforaminal epidural corticosteroid injection have resulted in infarction of the spinal cord and brain. The most often-hypothesized mechanism is inadvertent intra-arterial injection of particulate corticosteroids with a resulting embolus and infarction.Retrospective review of a patient's history and fluoroscopic imaging.A 30-year-old man with a diagnosed cervical radiculopathy underwent a right C6-C7 transforaminal epidural corticosteroid injection, using a 25-gauge 3.5-inch Whitacre spinal needle. Simultaneous epidural and radicular artery spread were observed under live fluoroscopy. The patient suffered no complications from the procedure.This case demonstrates that the use of pencil-point (Whitacre) needles does not eliminate the risk of inadvertent arterial injection during cervical transforaminal epidurals. Further investigation is required to determine whether the incidence of inadvertent vascular injection is reduced with pencil-point needles compared with sharp-beveled needles.

View details for DOI 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181f13417

View details for Web of Science ID 000286419200022

View details for PubMedID 21242881