Consent to treatment is the principle that a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical investigation or treatment.

The principle of consent is an important part of medical ethics and the international human rights law.

Consent can be given two ways:

  • informed verbally – for example, by the patient stating that they are happy undergo an X-ray after the X-ray procedure has been explained to them
  • informed written – for example, by the patient signing a consent form for a procedure following a discussion about the procedure

For image-guided procedures we obtain consent either verbally or in the form of written consent.

There are a number of very minor risks when undertaking a steroid injection or biopsy which are discussed below.


There is minor risk of bleeding. If you take blood thinners such as warfarin, rivaroxaban, dabigatran, clopidogrel and aspirin, you should seek advice from the inform the BMSR radiology team before attending your appointment.


There is a minor risk of infection, although this is minimised by following the use of aseptic technique when performing the procedures. You must inform the radiologist if you are planning to undergo surgery 3-6 months after your injection.


Longer acting local anaesthetic is used for spinal nerve root blocks and this can result in some numbness in joints or weakness in legs following the procedure.


It can take a few days before the steroid starts to work, though in some people the benefit is felt within a few hours. The effect usually wears off after several months and in some there is no appreciable benefit.

There are several reported side-effects of steroid injection which are generally rare.

  • steroid flare, temporary pain and discomfort
  • flushing of the face for a few hours
  • loss of pigmentation and fat which can cause dimpling
  • blood sugars may rise for a few days, and therefore if you have insulin-dependent diabetes you should monitor your sugars regularly
  • Blood pressure may go up for a few days

For further information:

Insufficient sample

On rare occasions when a biopsy is taken, the pathologist may request an additional sample if the original sample either did not have enough viable material from which to make a diagnosis or if further tests are needed.