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Tun-L Catheter Placement

PREOPERATIVE DIAGNOSIS: Low Back Syndrome – Low back pain with left greater than right lower extremity radiculopathy.


1. Nerve root decompression at L45 on the left side.
2. Tun-L catheter placement with injection of steroid solution and Marcaine at L45 nerve roots left.
3. Interpretation of radiograph.

ANESTHESIA: IV sedation with Versed and Fentanyl.



INDICATION FOR PROCEDURE: Severe and excruciating pain in the lumbar spine and lower extremity. MRI shows disc pathology as well as facet arthrosis.

SUMMARY OF PROCEDURE: The patient was admitted to the operating room, consent was obtained and signed. The patient was taken to the Operating room and was placed in the prone position. Monitors were placed, including EKG, pulse oximeter and blood pressure monitoring. After adequate IV sedation with Versed and Fentanyl the procedure was begun.

The lumbar sacral region was prepped and draped in sterile fashion with Betadine and four sterile towels. After the towels were places then sterile drapes were placed on top of that.

After which time the Epimed catheter was then placed, this was done by first repositioning the C-Arm to visualize the lumbar spine and the vertebral bodies were then counted beginning at L5, verifying the sacral hiatus. The skin over the sacral hiatus was then injected with 1% Lidocaine and an #18-gauge needle was used for skin puncture. The #18-gauge needle was inserted off of midline. A #16-gauge RK needle was then placed into the skin puncture and using the paramedian approach and loss-of-resistance technique the needle was placed. Negative aspiration was carefully performed. Omnipaque 240 dye was then injected through the #16-gauge RK needle. The classical run off was noted. A filling defect was noted @ L45 nerve root on the left side. After which time 10 cc of 0.25% Marcaine/Triamcinolone (9/1 mixture) was then infused through the 16 R-K Needle. Some additional lyses of adhesions were visualized as the local anesthetic displaced the Omnipaque 240 dye using this barbotage technique.

An Epimed Tun-L catheter was then inserted through the #16-gauage R-K needle and threaded up to the L45 interspace under continuous fluoroscopic guidance. As the catheter was threaded up under continuous fluoroscopic visualization lyses of adhesions were visualized. The tip of the catheter was noted to be @ L45 level on the left side. After this the #16-gauge RK needle was then removed under fluoroscopic guidance verifying that the tip of the catheter did not migrate from the L45 nerve root region on the left side. After this was successfully done, the catheter was then secured in place; this was done with Neosporin ointment, a Split 2×2, Op site and Hypofix tape. The catheter was then checked with negative aspiration and the Omnipaque 240 dye was then injected. The classical run off was noted in the lumbar region. Some lyses of adhesions were also visualized at this time with barbotage technique. Good dye spread was noted to extend one level above and one level below the L45 nerve root and bilateral spread was noted. Nerve root decompression was visualized as dye spread into the nerve root whereas prior this was a filling defect. After which time negative aspiration was again performed through the Epimed® Tun-L catheter and then 10 cc of solution was then infused through the catheter, this was done over a 10-minute period with initial 3 cc test dose. Approximately 3 minutes elapsed and then the remaining 7 cc were infused (Solution consisting of 8 cc of 0.25% Marcaine, 2 cc of Triamcinolone and 1 cc of Wydase.) The catheter was then capped with a bacterial filter. The patient was noted to have tolerated the procedure well without any complications.

Interpretation of radiograph revealed nerve root adhesions present with lysis of these adhesions as the procedure was performed. A filling defect was seen at the L45 nerve root and this filling defect being significant of fibrosis and adhesions in this region was noted to be lysed with the insertion of the catheter as well as the barbotage procedure. This verified positive nerve root decompression. The tip of the Epimed Tun L catheter was noted to be at L45 level on the left side. Positive myelogram without dural puncture was noted during this procedure; no sub-dural spread of Omnipaque 240 dye was noted. This patient did not report any problems and reported pain reduction.

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