BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Epidural steroid injections may offer little-to-no short-term benefit in the overall population of patients with symptomatic spinal stenosis compared with lidocaine alone. We investigated whether imaging could identify subgroups of patients who might benefit most. MATERIALSANDMETHODS: A secondary analysis of the Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Spinal Stenosis prospective, double-blind trial was performed, and patients were randomized to receive an epidural injection of lidocaine with or without corticosteroids. Patients (n = 350) were evaluated for qualitative and quantitative MR imaging or CT measures of lumbar spinal stenosis. The primary clinical end points were the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire and the leg pain numeric rating scale at 3 weeks following injection. ANCOVA was used to assess the significance of interaction terms between imaging measures of spinal stenosis and injectate type on clinical improvement. RESULTS: There was no difference in the improvement of disability or leg pain scores at 3 weeks between patients injected with epidural lidocaine alone compared with corticosteroid and lidocaine when accounting for the primary imaging measures of qualitative spinal stenosis assessment (interaction coefficients for disability score, -0.1; 95% CI, =1.3 to 1.2; P = .90; and for the leg pain score, 0.1; 95% CI, -0.6 to 0.8; P=.81) or the quantitative minimum thecal sac cross-sectional area (interaction coefficients for disability score, 0.01; 95% CI, -0.01 to 0.03; P = .40; and for the leg pain score, 0.01; 95% CI, -0.01 to 0.03; P = .33). CONCLUSIONS: Imaging measures of spinal stenosis are not associated with differential clinical responses following epidural corticosteroid injection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology