CT-guided Pain Management Procedures:
Discharge Instructions

After undergoing a CT-guided spinal injection procedure, it is important to follow the following instructions closely to aid your recovery.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the UCSF Precision Spine and Peripheral Nerve Center nurse at (415) 353-3717. You will also receive the number of one of our neuroradiologists in case you need to speak with someone after hours. If you feel you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

What to Do

  • Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Resume your usual medications, including your pain medicine if needed.
  • You may shower the day after your procedure.
  • Remove the bandage(s) from the needle puncture site(s) the day after your procedure.
  • Inspect the needle puncture site(s) for redness, swelling, bleeding or pus.
  • For the first three days following your procedure, avoid baths, hot tubs, pools, bending, stooping, strenuous exercise, straining for a bowel movement and lifting heavy objects.
  • For 14 days after your procedure, please record the location and level of your pain twice a day, every day. Rate the level of pain from 0 (no pain) to 10 (extreme pain). For example:

    Back pain = 3/10 (your pain is a "3" on a 10-point scale)
    Leg pain = 5/10 (your pain is a "5" on a 10-point scale)

    This information will help you, the neuroradiologist and your doctor evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment.

If You Received Sedation

If you received sedation, for the first 24 hours after your procedure we recommend that you:

  • Have a responsible adult take you home.
  • Rest and take it easy.
  • Resume eating, but begin with light foods such as clear juice, soup and jello, then progress to solid food.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol.
  • Do not drive or operate hazardous machinery.
  • Do not make important personal or business decisions.

When to Call Us

It is normal to experience mild pain at the needle puncture site. However, you should call the UCSF Precision Spine and Peripheral Nerve Center nurse at (415) 353-3717 if you develop:

  • Vomiting
  • Temperature greater than 101° F
  • Pain that is not controlled by your usual pain medication
  • Redness, swelling, bleeding, pus or drainage from a needle puncture site
  • New or increased numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
  • Difficulty urinating

Your Results

Our board certified neuroradiologists will share their conclusions and findings with your referring doctor, either by personal contact or a detailed post-procedure report.

Our team of experts:


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.