Ryota Kimura, Norio Yamamoto, Jun Watanabe, Yuichi Ono, Michio Hongo, Naohisa Miyakoshi

October 2023, pp 1 - 10 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-023-07968-y

First Online: 06 October 2023


Spinal nerve injections have traditionally been performed under fluoroscopic (FL) and computed tomography (CT) guidance. Recently, ultrasound (US)-guided procedures have provided an alternative guidance approach that does not expose the patient and operator to radiation. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of US-guided spinal nerve injections compared with FL- or CT-guided spinal nerve injections.


MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, international clinical trials registry platform (ICTRP) and ClinicalTrials.gov database searches for inclusion until February 2023 were independently performed by two authors using predefined criteria. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included. Primary outcomes were change in pain score (numeric rating scale or visual analogue scale) and major adverse events. Secondary outcomes were procedure time, change in functional disability score and minor adverse events. Meta-analysis was performed using random-effect model. We evaluated the certainty of evidence based on the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment and Development (GRADE) approach.


Eight RCTs involving 962 patients were included. There might be little to no difference in the mean score of the pain change between the US-guided methods and the FL- or CT-guided injections (standard mean difference -0.06; 95% confidence interval [CI] −0.26 to 0.15). US guidance probably reduced major adverse events (0.7% [3/433] and 6.5% [28/433], respectively), reduced procedure time (mean difference −4.19 min; 95% CI −5.09 to −3.30), and probably reduced minor adverse events (2.1% [9/433] and 4.2% [18/433], respectively) compared with FL or CT guidance. There was probably little to no difference in the change in functional disability score with either method.


US-guided spinal nerve injections remained effective and reduced adverse events compared with conventional FL- or CT-guided spinal nerve injections. Further RCTs are required to verify our results.

Study registration

Open Science Forum (Available from: https://osf.io/vt92w/).

Read Full Article