How Much Do Cortisone Shots Cost?

When we hear the word steroid, we immediately think of one thing. To clear the air, there are numerous types of steroids, and the ones used in doping belong to the anabolic steroid group, which can mimic the actions of the male hormone testosterone.

Cortisone is widely used as a treatment to reduce inflammation and pain, especially in joints and muscles. Although it may be banned in some sports because it still has an effect on a person’s physical and mental abilities, it is widely used as a treatment to reduce inflammation and pain, especially in joints and muscles.

Injected corticosteroids, sometimes known as cortisone shots, are used to treat a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, osteoarthritis, and gout, among others.

What is Cortisone?

Cortisone injections typically contain a corticosteroid and a local anesthetic such as Novocain. They are used to help curb inflammation, and w when administered properly, may provide temporary relief from a number of painful conditions such as shoulder bursitis.

In some instances, diluted cortisone shots are used to reduce swelling and heal lesions caused by severe cystic acne.

Cortisone injections contain a drug called corticosteroid. It is a group of steroid drugs that reduces inflammation so is often known as an anti-inflammatory. However, cortisone is not the same as an anabolic steroid, which builds muscle in athletes and bodybuilders.

Average Cost of Cortisone Shot

The basic, single cortisone shot price ranges from as little as $25 up to $100 per shot, which could still be discounted at some clinics offering promos if availed in sets, like when the issue is to be treated in series of shots until the desired result is achieved.

The costs may also depend on what part of the body is injected. A shot in the knee is reported to cost $300 to $900, while an elbow injection reportedly costs $200 to $250.

Another one reported a shoulder shot costs $170 aside from the doctor’s visit that costs $200. Four shots at the lower back cost $500 as claimed by another patient.

Depending on what issue is being treated, there are several points in the body into which the cortisone or corticosteroid is injected. Hence, the cost varies. How much does a cortisone shot cost in some areas of the body? 

Some price examples are as follows:

  • Cystic Acne – price ranges from $25 to $100 per shot

Cortisone shots are said to be the quickest way out of an active acne lesion, especially when anticipating a fast approaching important event in your life that requires you to look your best. The cortisone is injected directly into the pimple to make it appear smaller and reduce its inflammation.

  • Trigger Point/Tendon Injections – the national average cost is $868

These are the treatments for those who experience pain in certain parts of the body that are coming from another part that has trigger points. These trigger points are the knots of muscle-forming or clenched muscle fibers that are causing pain and stiffness. Injecting corticosteroid on the trigger point puts it into an inactive or relaxed state, therefore, mitigating the pain.

  • The national average cost is $2,068, according to the CDC.

This is the non-surgical pain management treatment for those who are suffering from spinal pain caused by various conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease.

The cortisone is injected together with another numbing agent for the purpose of reducing the pain so that the patient can participate in physical therapy and should not be considered in any way the cure for the source of the pain as the effect of the treatment is just temporary.

What are Included

The inclusions in the cortisone shot price depend on what is being treated. Basic cortisone shots such as acne treatment basically involve cleaning the area prior to injecting to make sure it is disinfected thereby reducing the risk of being infected further.

But when the treatment is about issues of the joints, preparation is much more complex. The procedure starts with the same cleaning up of the area then followed by aspiration of the joint where excess fluids are being removed using a separate syringe.

The fluid extracted may be sent to a laboratory for testing and diagnosis. The removal of the fluid alone may relieve some of the pain caused by the pressure of the excess fluid.

After these, the cortisone injection may proceed like any other simple injection procedure.

What is the Usual Cost of Cortisone Injections?

For people who have insurance, the cost of cortisone injections is covered by your plan.

If you don’t have insurance, Dr Masci offers injections starting at £250 for injections with ultrasound. Also, he is working on some weekends, so you have access to an expert on weekends if you don’t have time during the week.

You should seek out a doctor who specialises in ultrasound. Many doctors, on the whole, lack the necessary training and abilities. Furthermore, some practitioners (for example, physiotherapists) lack medical expertise.

Many physiotherapists in the United Kingdom who administer injections are unlicensed and lack adequate training. Dr. Masci is a physician who specialises in ultrasound-guided injections. He has written papers on injections and has been invited to speak about them at conferences.

What are the Benefits of Cortisone Injections?

Cortisone injections reduce inflammation. This effect will help reduce pain and improve the movement of a tendon or joint. We use these injections together with an exercise program.

The success of cortisone is dependent on how severe the condition is. For some, cortisone injections have no benefit at all. Overall, the effect of a cortisone injection varies.

There is good evidence that cortisone injections are useful for hip, knee, and thumb arthritis. However, the effect of cortisone is short and lasts for only 3 months.

Similarly, for tendons, cortisone injections improve pain, especially for plantar fasciitis, shoulder tendons, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, and trigger finger. However, we should not use cortisone for tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. Dr Masci has written a paper on the evidence for cortisone injections in tendonitis.

Finally, cortisone injections help other common injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or IT Band syndrome.

What are the Risks of Cortisone Injections?

Cortisone injections are safe if used correctly. However, like any drug, there are risks and side effects to cortisone.

The most common side effect is an increase in pain before the cortisone starts to work. We call this a “steroid flare.” It starts 6 hours after an injection and lasts for up to 4 days. This study showed that an average cortisone flare lasts for 4 days. It is important to rest to prevent more pain.

Cold packs and paracetamol or ibuprofen help to reduce pain. You should contact your doctor if the pain does not settle after 4 days.

For a short time, cortisone can weaken structures such as tendons and cartilage. As a result, we recommend resting for up to 7 days after the injection. In some cases, we advise a longer rest from activities such as football, basketball, or sprinting. It is important that you follow the strict advice of your doctor.

In general, other side effects are less common. Firstly, cortisone injected into tissue near the skin can cause skin thinning, loss of skin colour, and fat shrinkage. Using a lower dose of cortisone and ultrasound reduces these skin changes.

Secondly, while the risk of infection is very small (1/100000), a sterile technique is very important. Thirdly, cortisone can raise sugar levels in diabetics. It is important to check your sugar levels for a few weeks after an injection. Finally, cortisone can stop menstruation or cause a flushed face.

Factors Affecting Cortisone Shot Cost

Several factors can affect the determination of how much does a cortisone shot cost. Some of these are mentioned below:

  • The issue being treated—the problematic part of the body and its severity—determine how much cortisone needs to be injected in that particular area of the body.
  • How many shots—like the first factor, the number of shots needed to achieve the desired results depends on what issue is being treated. Scar removal may require several shots in order for it to fade, or the injection in the spinal column may be done several times as the need to alleviate pain arises.
  • Facility: Cortisone shots vary in different facilities depending on how big the facility is, as clinics tend to offer cheaper shots compared to hospitals and specialty facilities.
  • Insurance: Depending on the purpose of the treatment, your insurance may or may not cover the cortisone shots. Needless to say, if the cortisone shot is more for aesthetics than medical, like in the case of scar or acne treatment, insurance would not likely cover it.
  • Location – some areas around the country have a higher cost of health care than others and there are some which have higher demands of certain treatments. Therefore, varying cortisone shot price is expected.

Additional Information

Other benefits of cortisone shots are the following:

  • Manage psoriasis
  • Calm eczema
  • Clear up nail fungus
  • Check hair loss

It is important that cortisone use should not be abused. Like any other types of steroids, prolonged use may have a serious effect on health. But compared to taking it in tablet form, taking it through injections may have a lower side effect. These may include the following:

  • Flushing or the increased blood flow through the skin causing redness and warm sensation
  • Swelling of the face and fingers called edema
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Mood swings
  • Thinning or color changes in the area of the injection

Injections are covered by private insurance. For self-pay patients, Dr. Masci offers a competitive rate, starting at £250 for cortisone injections with ultrasound. So the cost of cortisone injections is not prohibitive. 

FAQs

What is cortisone?

Cortisone injections contain a drug called corticosteroid. It is a group of steroid drugs that reduces inflammation so is often known as an anti-inflammatory. However, cortisone is not the same as an anabolic steroid, which builds muscle in athletes and bodybuilders.

What is cortisone used for?

Cortisone is a drug that reduces inflammation. Lowering inflammation reduces pain and swelling in musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis or tendonitis.

How do we administer cortisone injections?

We perform cortisone injections with a clean technique using antiseptic for the skin and sterile equipment. Targeting the joint or tendon with ultrasound improves accuracy.

Also, seeing the needle with ultrasound means that we avoid injecting other structures such as nerves or blood vessels. We regard ultrasound as essential for performing an injection.

When does a cortisone injection start to work?

In general, cortisone injections start to work after 7 days. However, it may take up to 2 weeks. Usually, the pain-relieving effect lasts for 3 months and sometimes 6 months.

Do you need to rest after a cortisone injection?

In general, we recommend you rest the joint or tendon for at least 7 days after injection. As a rule, you can resume exercise after one week. At the time of your injection, Dr Masci will give you instructions regarding activity.

How many cortisone injections can I have?

There are no exact rules on the maximal number of cortisone injections. Overall, three injections spaced out at least six weeks apart for each injection are regarded as acceptable. However, multiple injections in different areas are safe.

Are there alternatives to cortisone?

There may be alternatives for joint and tendon injuries, such as platelet-rich plasma, hyaluronic acid, or needling under local anaesthetic. These injections have their advantages and disadvantages. You can read about platelet-rich plasma in this blog.

Moreover, you can read about the pros and cons of injections in tendonitis in this blog. Finally, Dr Masci has written a paper on the evidence for injections in tendonitis.

Final Word

Don’t trust just anyone to perform an injection. Make sure your practitioner is a doctor specializing in ultrasound-guided injections. Many practitioners who perform cheaper injections are not doctors and have not had the proper training. Do your homework first.

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