Questions about Interventional Spine Care

Will I have a consultation appointment at the office prior to my procedure appointment at the surgery center?

Not typically. The physician will perform an evaluation at the surgery center prior to each procedure. He will review your history, MRI’s and/or CT’s, perform a focused examination and review your options. You will have ample time to have your questions answered. If after the evaluation you or the doctor does not feel an injection is appropriate, none will be performed.

Are any procedures performed in the office?

All spine injection procedures are performed at the EvergreenHealth Surgery Center.

Are there any preparation requirements before I come into have the procedure?

Yes. For all procedures, you must fast for 6 (six) hours prior to the procedure, including food, water, coffee, soda, or any other liquid. Also, you must have a driver to bring you home (or someone to accompany you in a taxi) and take no pain medication or anti-inflammatory medication for 6 hours before the procedure if you are having a diagnostic test. You must bring your MRIs and CT’s with you to the appointment. There are other potential preparation issues that will be addressed when an appointment is scheduled.

Why do I need a driver?

A driver is mandatory for all procedures. This is a firm policy of the surgery centers. Under no circumstances will IV sedation be given if a patient does not have a driver.

What can I expect at the appointment?

You will first be checked in at the surgery center approximately 1 hour before the actual procedure. Once the paperwork have been completed and signed, a nurse will bring you back to the pre-procedural holding area. A medical evaluation will be performed by the nurse and an IV will be started. You will then go to the procedural suite where the doctor will perform his evaluation. You will be informed as to what to expect during and after the procedure. Your questions will be answered.

The procedure will then be performed followed by a 20-30 minimum recovery period in the recovery area. In the recovery area you will be provided a drink and basic snacks. If you prefer something special to eat after your procedure you can bring it with you, but remember you cannot eat for 6 hours prior to the procedure. The physician will typically see you again in the recovery area to answer any last minute questions and provide follow-up information regarding the procedure that may assist you in your recovery process. At that point, the IV will be removed and you will be released to your driver to return home.

What kind of sedation is used?

An intravenous (IV) sedative is used to provide a comfortable level of sedation during the procedure. The most commonly used medication is Versed. You will become very relaxed, yet remain conscious. It is not required, but the vast majority of patients feel it helps the procedure go smoothly by significantly reducing anxiety and muscle spasm.

How long will I be at the surgery center?

For most injections plan on spending approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours from check in to check out. Please plan to spend 1 hour for check in, evaluation, and preparation, 30- 45 minutes for the procedure and 30-45 minutes for recovery and discharge.

For RF neurotomy and discograms plan on spending approximately 3 to 3 ½ hours from check in to check out. Please plan to spend 1 hour for check in, evaluation, and preparation, 1 to 1 ½ hours for the procedure and 30-45 minutes for recovery and discharge. 

Will we manage or prescribe pain medications?

We do not manage or prescribe pain medications on an ongoing basis. A one week supply of pain medication is usually given following only more complicated procedures; e.g. discograms and RF neurotomy. Pain medication is not provided following epidural, facet, sacroiliac, hip, nerve root or medial branch block procedures.

Do you provide pediatric pain services?

No. We treat adult patients only.

Can I bring my children to the appointment?

The surgery center does not have a child play area nor does it provide babysitting services. Your appointment requires communication between you and the physician; having children in the consultation room can make this process very difficult. If necessary, children can stay with an adult in the waiting area, but children are not allowed into the procedure suite.

Is this a covered procedure under my insurance plan?

Most procedures are covered but are subject to your particular plan and co-insurance/deductible. Some procedures and plans require pre-certification, which we do for you. If your plan requires pre-certification or utilization review, it may require we schedule your appointment out to accommodate adequate time for authorization. If you have specific questions about your plan, please call our insurance coordinator at the main office. Click here for a list of participating insurance companies.

Will I be billed for this injection procedure?

There will be a charge for both the physician’s fee and the surgery center’s fee. Please download the Insurance and Billing Policies (PDF) for additional information.