CT-Guided Pain Management Procedures:
Pre-Treatment Instructions

Two Weeks Before Procedure

We cannot perform your procedure if you are at risk of bleeding or taking medications that promote increased bleeding. We ask that you stop using such medications five days before your procedure.

Please consult with your doctor to make sure it is safe to temporarily discontinue the medications. If you have any questions, contact our nurse at (415) 353-3717.

Discontinue the following medications before your procedure:

  • Aspirin or aspirin-containing compounds – Stop taking five days before your procedure.
  • Plavix - Stop taking five days before your procedure.
  • Coumadin (warfarin) – Please obtain a laboratory test (INR) before your procedure to determine the exact time to stop the medication. In most cases, this will be five days before your procedure.
  • Lovenox - Take the last dose in the morning the day before your exam.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (Motrin, Ibuprofen, etc.) - Stop taking five days before your procedure.

One Week Before Procedure

A nurse will contact you by phone one week before your appointment. During the call, the nurse will review information on patient safety and procedure preparation:

  • Make sure you have a person to drive you home following the procedure.
  • Tell us if you have an allergy to medications or CT scan contrast.
  • Tell us if you are taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, Plavix or aspirin.
  • Tell us if you are pregnant or if you think you might be pregnant.
  • Do not bring valuables with you to the procedure.
  • Tell us if you will need an interpreter.
  • Bring a list of your current medications, with dosage information.
  • Feel free to ask questions or tell us additional information.
  • If you like, plan to bring a snack for after your procedure. Otherwise, we will provide a snack.

The Day of the Procedure

  • Take your routine medications with a small sip of water, unless you've been instructed otherwise by your doctor or our nurses.
  • Bring copies of your spinal X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans, either films or CD-ROMs, if they were not performed at UCSF.
  • Arrive one hour early the day of your procedure.
  • Before the procedure, your doctor will discuss what you may experience during the procedure, and will ask you to sign a consent form. Feel free to ask questions.
  • If you chose to have conscious sedation during your procedure, you may not eat or drink for at least eight hours before your procedure.

If you have any questions, please call our nursing staff at (415) 353-3717.


You will be asked to complete paperwork to document the current level and location of your pain. You will then be escorted to a private area where you will change into a gown and bathrobe. Your belongings will be secured in a personal locker.

You and a friend or family member will then meet with the doctor, who will explain the details of your procedure and obtain your signed consent. Please feel free to ask any questions.


Before your procedure, a nurse will greet you and settle you into a bed. A small IV catheter (intravenous tube) will be placed in your arm to administer sedatives before and during your procedure. Sedatives help you remain relaxed and comfortable.

Next, our technologist and nurse will wheel you into the procedure room, where you will be connected to monitors to observe your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing patterns. Our nurses and doctors will closely monitor you throughout the entire procedure. If you feel pain or anxiety at any time, simply request additional medication. We want you to be as comfortable as possible.


After the procedure, you will be observed for one hour in the recovery room. We will continue to monitor your vital signs – your blood pressure and breathing - while you wake up. The recovery period gives you and your doctor the opportunity to evaluate your response to the treatment.

Your family can join you at your bedside. Our nurses will give you any snacks you brought from home or provide you with something to eat and drink.


We will discharge you home once you safely meet our release requirements. Before leaving our center, you will receive thorough written instructions for your recovery at home.


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.

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