Cortisone injections

Cortisone Injections into various parts of the shoulder may be helpul in relieving certain painful shoulder conditions. Depending upon the condition it may help a shoulder problem resolve completely. In other cases it may partly or temporarily relieve symptoms. The response to a cortisone injection or otherwise may determine whether a surgery will be required. Cortisone injections are sometimes used as a test to confirm the source of your syptoms.

What is Cortisone?

Cortisone is a corticosteroid. It is a preparation which reduces inflammation and swelling and thus pain arising from inflamed soft tissue components of your shoulder. It is formulated in a “depot” form. This means that the cortisone will stay locally at the site of injection and possibly having a beneficial effect for as long as 4 to 6 weeks. It may be necessary to allow the passage of this amount of time to judge whether the treatment has been of benefit. It can be repeated on an occasional basis if necessary.

Indications for Cortisone Injections

Cortisone injections may be appropriate for:

  • Rotator Cuff Impingement
  • Rotator Cuff Calcification
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
  • Sub-Acromial Bursitis
  • AC Joint Arthritis
  • Shoulder Joint Arthritis
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Biceps Tendinitis

Cortisone Injection Procedure

Some shoulder problems are suitable for Mr Lyons to make the injection himself at the time of your consultation. More often he needs to have the Radiologist make the injection based on his instructions in the Radiology Department. This allows accurate placement of the Cortisone with the assistance of Ultrasound or X-rays depending upon the nature of the condition. These image guided injections will usually require an appointment for the injection to be booked in advance. Our staff will assist you in that regard. They will then book a follow-up appointment with Mr Lyons so the effect of the injection can be assessed.

Antiseptic solution will be applied to your shoulder. The mixture of Local Anaesthetic and Cortisone is then injected. A band-aid is applied. The injection, just like any injection, can be a little painful at the time. However the local anaesthetic works very quickly and will act for an hour or so. It may be several days or a week or two before you know that the Cortisone is having a positive effect.

You can use your shoulder within its comfort zone after the injection. Although you can most often drive afterwards, you may prefer to come along with a family member or friend for support. Some patients prefer to schedule the injection for later in the day. This allows you to go home to rest rather than go back to work. It would be very unusual to need any additional time off work.

Risks and Complications of Cortisone Injections

A Cortisone injection in to the shoulder carries some small risk. However this must be balanced the potential benefit, especially the possible avoidance of a surgery.

Possible risks include:

  • Temporary aggravation of your shoulder pain
  • Failure of the injection to relieve your symptoms
  • Local bruising or tenderness
  • Diabetics may notice temporary disturbance of blood sugar levels
  • There is a very small risk that any injection could introduce an infection
  • Some patient feel a little flushed after a cortisone injection