What is epidurolysis?

Epidurolysis is a diagnostic test that consists of endoscopy of the epidural space (part of the vertebra outside the dura mater). Epidurolysis is an interventional technique that has been performed since the late 1980s to relieve back and/or limb pain. It is especially indicated in patients who present fibrosis imprisoning the nerves in the epidural space. The most frequent cause of the appearance of these adhesions are back surgeries, even when the intervention has been correctly performed.

What does epidurolysis consist of?

It can be performed with a flexible, steerable endoscope and with an epiduroscope including a flexible catheter. The endoscope is inserted with a needle through the sacral hiatus, a hole in the lower part of the sacrum. Once in place, the fluid is extracted from the epidural space if it is for diagnostic purposes or the corresponding drug is introduced if it is for therapeutic purposes.

Why is epidurolysis performed?

It is a visualization technique in the diagnosis and treatment of painful back syndromes. In the case of treatment, it is especially indicated in diseases such as secondary sciatic and lumbar pain, epidural fibrosis around the nerve root, when there is pain in the lower limbs, or disc herniation.

What do you feel during the test?

It is normal to feel pain during the puncture. Other common symptoms that may occur after the test are transient low back pain, pain at the puncture site, bruising in the area of the sacral hiatus, among others.

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Meaning of abnormal results of epidurolysis

Epidurolisis can diagnose painful back syndromes, such as ankylosing spondylitis, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal spondylosis or osteoarthritis, back injuries or fractures, etc.

Which specialist should treat it?

The ideal specialist to treat an epidurolysis is a Pain Unit physician.