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What is a Bursa?
In many areas of the body, muscles and tendons must slide over and against one another during movement. At each of these places there is a bursa, which is a small sac of lubricating fluid, to help the muscles and tendons move without friction. When the bursa sac becomes inflamed, pain can result each time the tendon has to move over the bone. The pain may eventually be present at rest and may even cause a problem while sleeping.
What to Expect During a Bursa Injection
- Using X-ray guidance, or ultrasound the physician will insert a thin needle and inject contrast solution into the bursa thought to be causing your pain. The contrast solution is designed to highlight your anatomy to make sure the nerve thought to be causing your pain is precisely targeted.
- The physician will then slowly release a combination of anti-inflammatory (steroid) and anesthetic (numbing) medications into the area.
- You may experience some slight pressure or discomfort during the bursa injections.
- You may be asked to wait after the procedure so that the clinic staff can monitor your symptoms before you leave.
What to Expect After the Bursa Injection
- The beneficial effects of the steroids usually require two to three days to take hold, but may take as long as five to seven days.
- If an initial injection provided a certain amount of relief, a second injection might strengthen the pain relief effect. Also, if your pain subsides, but begins to return weeks or months later, additional injections are possible.
- If there is no change in your symptoms after a week, your doctor may want to investigate other possible sources for your pain.