Copyright © 2007 - 2011
Mathias Masem, M.D.
All Rights Reserved

Patient Instructions


If you have been told that you need an injection, it is normal to feel a little nervous. To try and make you a little more comfortable with the procedure we have prepared this explanation sheet to answer a few of your questions and to explain to you what we do and why we do it.

Why do I need this?

When a part of the body is damaged, it becomes “inflamed”. If you could look under your skin at the “inflamed” tissue, it would look a little like a burn looks on your skin: the inflamed part is red, swollen, and irritated. We can help the inflamed tissue heal if we put some medicine right around the area that has been damaged, but we need a needle to get the medicine to the right spot. Cortisone is the name of the medicine that helps the tissue heal by reducing the inflammation of the injured part. (This is not the same kind of cortisone that athletes use.)

What is an injection?

After the area is anesthetized, a small needle delivers the medicine to the area around the injury. Usually, when the injured tissue is rested and bathed in cortisone the inflammation is reduced long enough for the injured part to begin to heal.

Does it hurt?

To minimize your discomfort, we use a very small needle to inject the medicine. Also, we spray a topical anesthetic to the skin so that you won’t feel the needle go through the skin. The topical anesthetic will probably feel cool when we spray it on. We mix the cortisone with lidocaine so that when we inject, you should feel relief of the painful area immediately. While the doctor is positioning the needle you may or may not feel about 1 to 5 seconds of discomfort.

What do we do?

First we clean the area to be injected with an antiseptic solution. Then we spray the skin with a topical anesthetic that will feel cool. While we are spraying, we will put the needle through the skin to the place that needs the medicine. Then we will inject the medicine into the tissue and take the needle out. The injection will give you immediate relief because we will inject an anesthetic along with the cortisone.

What about after the injection?

Immediately after the injection you will notice that the pain is lessened. Unfortunately, about 4-6 hours after the injection, the anesthetic injected along with the cortisone will start to wear off and you might start to might start to experience some discomfort at the site of the injection for 48-72 hours. This discomfort is usually relieved by taking some pain medication. After the initial discomfort wears off, the discomfort of should gradually improve. If the pain only improves a little, it is often helpful to repeat the injection.