Joint injections are used to treat children with arthritis. High-dose steroids are directly injected into the diseased joint spaces.
A radiologist will use ultrasound, X-rays or a CT scanned image to guide a needle into the joint space. Contrast dye may be injected to confirm proper location of the needle. Liquid steroid medication is then injected until there is proper filling of the joint space. The needle will be removed and a bandage will be placed.
A typical joint injection takes approximately less than one hour.
Joint injections are fairly fast procedures and often multiple joints are treated. Your child will likely be kept awake and change positions during the procedure. The physician may choose to put your child to sleep for which intravenous sedation or general anesthesia will be administered.
Pain and discomfort are common during the individual injections and the use of local anesthesia is not routinely indicated. Some children will have a sensation of fullness in and around the joint space until all the medication is absorbed into the body. Over-the-counter pain medication helps with pain and discomfort. The injection site may also be swollen for a couple days following the procedure but usually returns to normal within a week.
Joint injections are considered low-risk procedures. However, potential complications include:
The bandages and any dressing covering the injection site should stay clean and dry for 24 hours. After this, your child can shower or take a bath and the bandage(s) can be removed.
We recommend complete bed rest for the remainder of the day. The next day, your child may resume school-going, daycare attendance and normal light activities but must refrain from intense physical activity like contact sports and rough playing for about one week.
Our pediatric interventional radiologists perform a full range of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to both diagnose and treat disease in infants, children and adolescents. Discover more about the treatment we offer.
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Children’s National interventional radiologists perform a full range of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to both diagnose and treat disease in infants, children, and adolescents.