Ultrasound-guided selective nerve root block versus fluoroscopy-guided interlaminar epidural block for the treatment of radicular pain in the lower cervical spine: a retrospective comparative study

  • Ki Deok Park
  • Woo Yong Lee
  • Sang Hyun Nam
  • Myounghwan Kim
  • Yongbum ParkEmail author
Original Article



Recent studies have compared the therapeutic efficacy and safety of the procedure using ultrasound and fluoroscopy. However, there are no published studies comparing the therapeutic efficacy and safety of fluoroscopy (FL)-guided cervical interlaminar epidural steroid injection (CIESI) with that of ultrasound (US)-guided selective nerve root block (SNRB). This study aimed to compare the mid-term effects and advantages of US-guided SNRB with FL-guided CIESI for radicular pain in the lower cervical spine through assessment of pain relief and functional improvement.


Patients with radicular pain in the lower cervical spine who received US-guided SNRB (n = 51) or FL-guided CIESI (n = 61) were included in this retrospective study. All procedures were performed using FL or US. The complication frequencies during the procedures, adverse events, treatment effects, and functional improvement were compared at intervals of 1, 3, and 6 months after the last injection.


Both the neck disability index and verbal numeric scale showed improvements at 1, 3, and 6 months after the last injection in both groups, with no significant differences between groups (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the treatment success rate at all time points was not significantly different between groups. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the injection method (US- or FL-guided), sex, analgesic use, pain duration, number of injections, and age were not independent predictors of treatment success. Blood was aspirated before injection in 8% (n = 5) and 0% of patients in the FL-guided and US-guided groups, respectively. In seven patients of the FL-guided group, intravascular contrast spread was noted during injection.


Our results suggest that, compared with FL-guided CIESI, US-guided SNRB requires a shorter administration duration while providing similar pain relief and functional improvements.


Ultrasound Fluoroscopy Injection Cervical 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest for this study.

Ethical statement

Procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

This study was a retrospective comparative review of chart data. Patient privacy and data confidentiality were maintained throughout the research process. The institutional review board of the corresponding author’s affiliated university approved the study. The approval included a waiver of informed consent, because the study did not include direct contact with the study population, and all patient identifiers were removed from the data set on the initial collection.


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Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Ultrasonologia in Medicina e Biologia (SIUMB) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation MedicineGachon University, Gil Medical CenterIncheonSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologySanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Plastic and Reconstructive SurgerySanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologySanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  5. 5.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationSanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea

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