Bursa Injections

What is the purpose of it?
Bursitis can occur in the soft tissue surrounding joints. The most common areas for bursitis are the shoulders and hips. The steroid injected reduces the inflammation and/or swelling of tissue in the bursa for patients with bursitis. This may in turn reduce pain, and other symptoms caused by inflammation / irritation of the bursa.

How long does the injection take?
The actual injection takes only a few minutes.

What is actually injected?
The injection consists of a mixture of local anesthetic (such as lidocaine or bupivacaine) and the steroid medication (such as methylprednisolone – Depo-medrol®).

Will the injection(s) hurt?
The procedure involves inserting a very thin needle through skin and deeper tissues (like a “tetanus shot”). So, there is some minor discomfort involved.

Will I be “put out” for this procedure?
No. This procedure is done in the doctor’s office.

How is the injection performed?
It is done with the patient either sitting, standing, or lying down, and is generally based on patient preference.

What should I expect after the injection?
Immediately after the injection, you may feel that your pain may be gone or reduced. This is due to the local anesthetic injected. This will last only for a few hours. Your pain will return and the area may feel sore for a day or two. This is due to the mechanical process of needle insertion as well as initial irritation from the steroid itself. You should start noticing pain relief starting the 5th day or so.

What should I do after the procedure?
You may want to apply ice to the affected area. Perform the activities as tolerated.

Can I go to work to work the next day?
Unless there are complications, you should be able to return to your work the same day.

How long does the effect of the medication last?
The immediate effect is usually from the local anesthetic injected. This wears off in a few hours. The steroid starts working in about 5 to 7 days and its effect can last for several days to a few months.

How many injections do I need to have?
We generally do not recommend exceeding 3 injections in a year, simply to reduce the potential for side effects of steroids.

Will the Bursa Injection help me?
It is very difficult to predict if the injection will indeed help you or not. Generally speaking, the patients who have recent onset of pain may respond much better than the ones with long standing pain.

What are the risks and side effects?
Generally speaking, this procedure is safe. However, with any procedure there are risks, side effects, and possibility of complications. The most common side effect is pain – which is temporary. The other risks involve, infection, bleeding, and worsening of symptoms. The other risks are related to the side effects of cortisone: These include weight gain, increase in blood sugar (mainly in diabetics), water retention, suppression of body’s own natural production of cortisone etc. Fortunately, the serious side effects and complications are uncommon.

Who should not have this injection?
If you are allergic to any of the medications to be injected, or if you have an active infection going on, you should not have the injection.