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Pars Defect Injections

A pars injection is usually administered in patients with spondylolisthesis for the diagnosis of pars defect, a small fracture in the area of the vertebrae. Spondylolisthesis refers to a condition of the spine where a vertebra is displaced from its normal position. This results in gradual deformity of the lower spine and narrowing of the spinal canal which causes pressure on the spinal nerves and results in pain.


During the injection procedure, you will be placed on your stomach, on the operating table, with a small pillow under your abdomen. After sterilizing the skin, a local anesthetic is administered to the skin over the lower back (lumbar region). Using X-ray guidance, a thin needle is inserted directly into the pars defect. A small amount of contrast material is injected to confirm the positioning of the needle. Once the position of the needle has been confirmed a local anesthetic and steroid mix is injected in the pars defect to reduce inflammation and decrease your pain.

Following the injection, you may resume your normal activities, as tolerated. You may experience slight discomfort at the site of injection. You can ease the discomfort by applying ice packs on the affected area, several times a day for up to 15 minutes.

Some of the complications of pars defect injection include allergic reaction, nerve damage, bleeding, and exaggeration of pain. The potential side effects of steroid medications may include facial flushing, low-grade fever, menstrual changes, fluid retention, insomnia, and headache. However, these side effects are usually mild and will often resolve within 1to 3 days.