Radiology (Xray)

Ultrasound guided injection of local anaesthetic and/or steroid medication

Contact: RVI: (0191) 282 4330; Freeman Hospital: (0191) 223 1012


What is an ultrasound scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • An ultrasound scan is a non-invasive method of producing detailed images of the body’s interior using high frequency sound waves.  The sound waves are at a pitch that is too high to be heard by the human ear.  A computer converts the information into a moving picture that is displayed on a monitor and can be stored electronically.

What is an ultrasound guided injection of local anaesthetic and/or steroid medication?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • An injection of local anaesthetic and steroid can be used to provide symptom relief for painful and/ or swollen joints, ligaments or tendons. High frequency ultrasound can be used to guide the needle to the exact location requiring treatment.

Why do I need this procedure?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Pain from joints, ligaments and tendons can cause significant discomfort that can affect all aspects of life and prevent you from doing every day activities. If symptoms do not respond to conservative treatments then an injection of local anaesthetic and steroid can be used to provide pain relief.

Who performs the ultrasound and injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The examination will be performed by a radiologist (medical doctor who specialises in interpreting diagnostic imaging).  The radiologist will explain what happens and will show you what to do.

What preparation will I need?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Usually none.  Printed instructions will be included in your appointment letter if any preparation is needed.

I have diabetes. Does this change anything?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • No.

I am currently taking medication to thin my blood. Do I need to do anything different? Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If you are taking blood thinning drugs including warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel, dabigatran, apixaban, rivaroxaban, edoxaban or dipyridamole please contact the department on the number below as soon as possible:
  • RVI X-ray Appointments               0191 282 4330 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Freeman X-ray Appointments     0191 223 1012 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)

What does the examination involve?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • On arrival you will be asked to remove some of your clothing and put on a hospital gown.  If you are attending for a hip or groin examination then you will need to remove your underwear.  If you are attending for a shoulder examination you will need to remove your bra strap on the side being examined.
  • Once in the examination room, you will lie on a couch next to the ultrasound machine. 
  • The radiologist will perform the scan by placing a small amount of clear gel onto the skin and gently running a small probe, like a microphone, over the skin surface. 
  • You may be asked to change your position slightly or hold your breath from time to time.
  • The doctor who arranged for you to have this examination has asked the radiologist to consider giving an injection as part of the test.  The radiologist will explain whether an injection is necessary once they have scanned the area.
  • The injection, if necessary, will be of local anaesthetic and/ or steroid medication.
  • The Radiologist will answer any questions you have about the injection at the time.  If you have concerns before the test, please contact the doctor who you saw in clinic who will be able to discuss the injection further with you.

How does it feel during the injection of local anaesthetic/steroid medication:Show [+]Hide [-]

  • In order to perform your scan it will be necessary to apply a small amount of gel to the skin surface in the area being examined. This gel dissolves in water and will not stain your clothing.
  • The skin at the site of injection will be cleaned using a cold antiseptic solution.
  • Once the skin has been numbed, a fine needle will be put into the area to be treated and the local anaesthetic and/or steroid will be injected.
  • You may feel some pushing as the needle goes in and it will feel heavy/tight as the medication is injected.
  • You may be asked to wait for a short time after the injection to make sure that you do not have a reaction to the medication used.

How long will the scan take?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Each examination is different and may take up to 30 minutes to complete, depending on the area to be examined and whether or not an injection is used.

What are the benefits of having this?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Ultrasound guided injections are minimally invasive. Using ultrasound we can guide the needle to make sure it is placed accurately.

What are the risks/side effects of this?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Ultrasound itself is considered to be a harmless method of imaging the body. There are no known side-effects from diagnostic ultrasound scanning.  An ultrasound guided injection is considered a relatively safe procedure with minimal risk.  Using ultrasound to guide the needle reduces the chances of causing damage to surrounding structures. Side effects related to the procedure include bleeding, infection, numbness/weakness and allergic reaction to the medications used.

When will I notice a result from the injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The local anaesthetic injected may give immediate pain relief and can last for up to 24 hours. The steroid can take several days to take effect and maximum effect from the injection can take up to 7-10 days. Within two weeks, we will send a report to your doctor.

Can I drive home?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • We advise you do not drive for 24 hours after an injection and you should make alternative travel arrangements.

I need an ambulance/ transport. Do you arrange it?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If you need an ambulance/ transport, you should ask your GP Surgery to arrange it. You will need to give them three working days’ notice.  Please note that hospital transport is provided on medical need only.

What if I have other questions?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If you have any questions, doubts or worries, please ask the radiologist before your scan.  The radiology staff want to make you feel as relaxed as possible.  This makes the scan easier for you and means that we get better pictures to aid your diagnosis.

What if I cannot attend for my appointment? Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If your appointment time is not convenient please contact the hospital department so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will enable us to reallocate valuable scanning time to someone else:
  • RVI X-ray Appointments               0191 282 4330 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Freeman X-ray Appointments     0191 223 1012 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)

What if have any suggestions or complaints?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Should you have any suggestions or concerns, please make these known to the person conducting your examination or by letter addressed to the hospital that you are attending your examination:
  • The Departmental Manager, X-ray Department, Level 3, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4LP
  • The Departmental Manager, Main X-ray Department, Freeman Hospital, High Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7DN
  • Tel: 0191 282 1099
  • Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm
  • All Newcastle Hospitals: Switchboard tel: 0191 233 6161 (24 hours)
  • The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS. You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email northoftynepals@nhct.nhs.uk.
  • Information produced by Dr A Karsandas, Consultant Radiologist

Diagnostic Imaging DatasetShow [+]Hide [-]

  • Information from your diagnostic test will contribute to the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. 
  • The Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID) is a database that holds information on the imaging tests and scans carried out on NHS patients. This will allow the Health and Social Care Information Centre to see how different tests are used across the country.
  • Nothing will ever be reported that identifies you.  All information is stored securely. It is only made available to appropriate staff, and is kept strictly confidential. However, if you do not want your information to be stored in the DID, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not copied into the DID.
  • You may, at a later date, still decide to opt out.  Please contact the Health and Social Care Information Centre directly, their contact details are:
  • Telephone: 0845 300 6016 
  • Email: enquiries@ic.nhs.uk 
  • Website: www.ic.nhs.uk
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