Costochondral Joint Injection

What is a Costochondral Joint Injection?

A Costochondral joint injection is used to treat refractory (not responding to other conservative therapies) cases of costochondritis, which causes severe pain. Lidocaine, or a combination of corticosteroid and lidocaine, is injected.

A costochondral joint injection involves administering a combination of local anesthetic and corticosteroid directly into the joint where a rib connects to the sternum through cartilage. This procedure is utilized to alleviate pain and inflammation associated with conditions like costochondritis, providing targeted relief and diagnostic insights for individuals experiencing chest wall discomfort.

  • Is the procedure painful?

    • The procedure involves some discomfort, but local anesthesia is usually used to minimize pain during the injection.
  • How long does the pain relief last?

    • Pain relief duration varies, but patients often experience immediate relief from the local anesthetic, and the corticosteroid provides more prolonged effects, which can last for weeks to months.
  • Are there potential side effects or risks?

    • While generally safe, potential risks include infection, bleeding, or nerve injury. Serious complications are rare, and healthcare providers take precautions to minimize risks.
  • What conditions does it treat?

    • Costochondral joint injections are commonly used for conditions like costochondritis, where inflammation of the cartilage causes chest pain. It can also be beneficial for other inflammatory conditions of the chest wall.
  • How soon can I expect results?

    • Patients may experience immediate relief from the local anesthetic, and the full effects of the corticosteroid may take a few days to a week.
  • Are there alternatives to this treatment?

    • Alternatives include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and in some cases, lifestyle modifications. The choice depends on the specific diagnosis and individual factors.
  • How frequently can the injections be administered?

    • The frequency of injections depends on the individual’s response and the underlying condition. Your healthcare provider will determine an appropriate schedule.
  • Is there any preparation required before the procedure?

    • Typically, no special preparation is needed. Your healthcare provider may advise you on whether to continue or stop certain medications before the injection.
  • Can I resume normal activities after the injection?

    • Most individuals can resume normal activities after the procedure. However, it’s advisable to follow post-injection instructions provided by your healthcare provider.
  • Will the injection interfere with other medications or treatments?

    • It’s essential to inform your healthcare provider about all medications and treatments you are undergoing to ensure there are no significant interactions. They can provide guidance based on your specific situation.

During a costochondral joint injection, a patient typically lies on an examination table, and the skin over the targeted costochondral joint is cleaned and sterilized. The healthcare provider may use local anesthesia to numb the injection site. Using guidance, such as ultrasound or fluoroscopy, a needle is then carefully inserted into the costochondral joint, and a combination of a local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication is injected. The local anesthetic provides immediate pain relief, while the corticosteroid helps to reduce inflammation in the joint over a more extended period. The entire procedure is relatively quick, often performed in an outpatient setting, and patients may experience improved symptoms in the days following the injection.

In a very small number of patients, there is a risk of damage to tissues in the area of the injection and, very rarely, a permanent increase in pain.