Dr. Huynh is an interventional spine physiatrist at the Stanford University Spine Center, where she specializes in the comprehensive conservative management of spine disorders. She earned her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she served as Chief Resident. She then went on to fulfill a fellowship in Interventional Spine at Stanford University. She specializes in non-operative spine and musculoskeletal care, including fluoroscopic and ultrasound guided procedures.

Clinical Focus

  • Nonoperative spine care
  • Physical Medicine and Rehab
  • Spine Injections
  • Ultrasound Guided Injections
  • Fluoroscopic injections

Academic Appointments

Honors & Awards

  • Chief Resident, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2013-2014)
  • Best Fellow Abstract, Spine Intervention Society (2014)
  • Excellence in Pain Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2014)
  • President's Citation Award, American Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (2014)
  • Jose Montero Teaching Award, Stanford Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department (2018)

Professional Education

  • Board Certification: American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physical Medicine and Rehab (2015)
  • Internship: Flushing Hospital Medical Center (2011) NY
  • Medical Education: Albert Einstein College of Medicine (2010) NY
  • Fellowship: Stanford University Physical Medicine and Rehabiliation (2015) CA
  • Residency: UPMC Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency (2014) PA
  • Board Certification, Physical Medicine and Rehab, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehab (2015)
  • Fellowship, Stanford University, Interventional Spine (2015)

All Publications

  • Reopening Interventional Pain Practices during the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.) Huynh, L., Chang, R. G., Chhatre, A., Sayeed, Y., MacVicar, J., McCormick, Z. L., Duszynski, B., Smith, C. 2021


    OBJECTIVE: Examine how interventional pain physicians navigated the early phase of reopening practices during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.METHODS: In June/July 2020, Spine Intervention Society members were queried about practice demographics, perception of COVID-19 prevalence, financial impact, and implementation of new tools and procedures when re-opening practices.RESULTS: Of the 2,295 members approached, 195 (8%) completed the survey. A majority (71%) reported using risk stratification tools and changing scheduling patterns. Nearly 70% performed initial assessments via telehealth and 87% for follow-up encounters. More than 80% performed symptom/temperature checks upon in-person clinic/facility entrance, and 63% screened patients via phone. Most (58%) did not test patients for COVID-19 for office visits, while 38% tested only if symptomatic. For epidural injections, intra-articular injections, and radiofrequency neurotomy procedures, 43% reported not testing patients, while 36% tested patients only if symptomatic. Most (70%) required patients to wear a mask upon entering the clinic/facility. For nonprocedure encounters, respondents used surgical masks (85%), gloves (35%), face shields/goggles (24%), N95 respirators (15%), and gowns (6%). Some (66%) discussed unique COVID-19 risks/complications and 26% provided written information. Most did not make changes to steroid dosage (67%) or peri-procedural anticoagulation management (97%). The vast majority (81%) estimated that COVID-19 will have a moderate-severe financial impact on their practice.CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 has dramatically affected interventional pain practices with regard to telehealth, in-clinic precautions, screening/testing protocols, and patient counseling. Practice patterns will continue to evolve as we learn more about the disease and improve methods to provide safe and effective care.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/pm/pnab002

    View details for PubMedID 33624827

  • The effect of patient satisfaction scores on physician job satisfaction and burnout FUTURE SCIENCE OA Schneider, B. J., Ehsanian, R., Schmidt, A., Huynh, L., Kennedy, D. J., Maher, D. P., Haring, S. 2020
  • Conversion Disorder After a Lumbar Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection. PM & R : the journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation Tamura, L., Huynh, L. 2019

    View details for DOI 10.1002/pmrj.12204

    View details for PubMedID 31207138

  • Pain and Functional Outcomes After Sacroiliac Joint Injection with Anesthetic and Corticosteroid at Six Months, Stratified by Anesthetic Response and Physical Exam Maneuvers. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.) Schneider, B. J., Ehsanian, R. n., Huynh, L. n., Levin, J. n., Zheng, P. n., Kennedy, D. J. 2019


    To evaluate sacroiliac joint (SIJ) injection outcomes with local anesthetic and corticosteroid.Prospective cohort.Single academic medical center.Thirty-four patients referred for SIJ injection with a clinical diagnosis of SIJ pain underwent injections with 1:1 mixture of 2% lidocaine and triamcinolone 40 mg/mL. Pain provocation physical exam (PE) maneuvers were recorded immediately before and after injection. Outcome measures at two to four weeks and six months included pain numeric rating scale (NRS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI).For the analysis of outcomes by the overall group (not stratified by PE and/or anesthetic block), a 58.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = +/-16.5%) ≥2 NRS reduction, a 32.4% (95% CI = +/-15.7%) ≥50% NRS reduction, and a 38.2% (95% CI = +/-16.3%) ≥30% ODI reduction were observed at two to four weeks, with similar improvements at six months. Outcomes stratified based on pre-injection PE did not reveal significant differences at either time point. The stratification based on the presence of 100% postinjection anesthetic response demonstrated a significant difference at two to four weeks for ≥50% NRS improvement. The true positive/true negative group (TP/TN) stratification demonstrated a significant difference for ≥50% NRS improvement at two to four weeks, whereas six-month outcomes for TP/TN demonstrated significant differences for ≥50% NRS and ≥30% ODI improvement. An increased injection response was observed with stratification of patients more likely to have true SIJ pain (i.e., TP), with TP/TN stratification demonstrating a 75% (95% CI = +/-30.0%) ≥2 NRS improvement and a 62.5% (95% CI = +/-33.5%) improvement of ≥50% NRS and ≥30% ODI for the TP group at two to four weeks, with similar results at six months.SIJ steroid injection based on referral clinical diagnosis is unlikely to demonstrate true injection efficacy, and more specific selection criteria are warranted.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/pm/pnz111

    View details for PubMedID 31106837

  • Intra-articular Sacroiliac Joint Needle Placement: Ultrasound, Fluoroscopy, and the Criterion Standard. American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation Schneider, B. J., Ehsanian, R. n., Levin, J. n., Huynh, L. n., Kennedy, D. J., McCormick, Z. L. 2019

    View details for DOI 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001288

    View details for PubMedID 31393271

  • Validity of Physical Exam Maneuvers in the Diagnosis of Sacroiliac Joint Pathology. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.) Schneider, B. J., Ehsanian, R. n., Rosati, R. n., Huynh, L. n., Levin, J. n., Kennedy, D. J. 2019


    A combination of physical examination maneuvers is currently considered necessary to help predict who will respond to injections in the sacroiliac joint. However, the literature on this topic currently consists of conflicting studies, with one showing the value of a combination of exam maneuvers and the other showing no real value.To determine the diagnostic validity of sacroiliac joint (SIJ) physical exam maneuvers using anesthetic intra-articular injection as a reference standard.A single institution prospective study.Patients with the clinical diagnosis of SIJ pain and referred for SIJ injection were enrolled.Numeric rating scale (NRS) to assess pain intensity.Participants underwent fluoroscopically guided SIJ intra-articular injection with 1 cc of 2% lidocaine and 1 cc of triamcinolone 40 mg. Patients' pain was assessed via 0-10 NRS pre-injection and immediately postinjection to determine positive anesthetic response to the injection. Six physical exam maneuvers (thigh thrust, Geanslen's test, FABER test, distraction test, compression test, and sacral thrust) were performed pre-injection and 15 minutes postinjection. The results of these SIJ physical exam maneuvers were evaluated singly and in combinations for diagnostic power in relation to a positive anesthetic response (>80% relief) to the injection. No association was found between a single SIJ physical exam maneuver or combination of maneuvers and anesthetic response to the injection.In this cohort, patient physical exam maneuvers to identify intra-articular SIJ pain did not demonstrate diagnostic value when compared with the reference standard of an intra-articular anesthetic block.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/pm/pnz183

    View details for PubMedID 31393577

  • Intra-articular Steroids vs Saline for Lumbar Z-Joint Pain: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.) Kennedy, D. J., Fraiser, R., Zheng, P., Huynh, L., Levin, J., Smuck, M., Schneider, B. J. 2018


    Objective: To determine if intra-articular (IA) injection of corticosteroids is effective in reducing the need for radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in those with dual comparative medial branch block (MBB)-confirmed lumbar z-joint pain.Design: This was a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study.Setting: Two academic medical centers.Subjects: Fifty-six consecutive subjects who had ≥80% pain relief during an initial screening MBB were recruited.Methods: Patients received a second confirmatory MBB and concurrent IA injection of either corticosteroid or saline per randomization. Twenty-nine of 56 received intra-articular corticosteroid (triamcinolone 20mg), of whom 24 also had a positive confirmatory MBB per Spine Interventional Society guidelines, with ≥80% pain relief from both MBBs. Twenty-seven of 56 received IA saline into the z-joint during the confirmatory MBB, of whom 22 also had a positive confirmatory MBB. The primary outcome measure was the categorical need for RFA due to insufficient pain relief with intra-articular injection, and the secondary outcome was time to RFA.Results: There was no statistically significant difference in the need for an RFA between the groups (16/24 steroid, 67%, 95% confidence interval [CI]=47-82%) vs 15/22 saline (68%, 95% CI=47-84%, P=1.00). The average time to RFA was also not different, at 6.00weeks for steroids vs 6.55weeks for saline (P=0.82).Conclusions: Intra-articular corticosteroids were not effective in reducing the need for or the time to a radiofrequency ablation of the medial branches in those with dual MBB-confirmed lumbar z-joint pain.

    View details for PubMedID 30541041

  • Corticosteroid Injections Into Lumbar Facet Joints: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL MEDICINE & REHABILITATION Kennedy, D. J., Huynh, L., Wong, J., Mattie, R., Levin, J., Smuck, M., Schneider, B. J. 2018; 97 (10): 741–46


    Corticosteroid injections into the intra-articular zygapophysial (z-joints) are frequently used to treat this cause of low back pain. No studies have been done on the efficacy of intra-articular corticosteroids in those with z-joint pain confirmed by dual comparative medial branch blocks.The aim of the study was to determine whether an injection of a corticosteroid into lumbar z-joints is effective in reducing pain and the need for radiofrequency neurotomy.This is a double-blind, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. The study was conducted in Academic Medical Center. Twenty-eight subjects with z-joint pain confirmed by medial branch blocks were included in the study. Subjects with confirmed z-joint pain via dual comparative medial branch block were randomized to receive either intra-articular corticosteroid (triamcinolone 20 mg) or saline via fluoroscopic guided injection.No statistically significant difference in the need for radiofrequency neurotomy (radiofrequency neurotomy) between the groups, with 75% (95% confidence interval = 50.5%-99.5%) of the saline group vs. 91% (95% confidence interval = 62.3%-100%) of the corticosteroid group receiving radiofrequency neurotomy. There is no difference in mean time to radiofrequency neurotomy between saline (6.1 wks) and corticosteroid (6.5 wks) groups. There is a need for radiofrequency neurotomy.Corticosteroid injections into the lumbar z-joints were not effective in reducing the need for radiofrequency neurotomy of the medial branches in those with z-joint pain confirmed by dual comparative medial branch blocks.

    View details for PubMedID 29734232

  • A minimum of 5-year follow-up after lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injections in patients with lumbar radicular pain due to intervertebral disc herniation. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society Kennedy, D. J., Zheng, P. Z., Smuck, M., McCormick, Z. L., Huynh, L., Schneider, B. J. 2017


    BACKGROUND CONTEXT: Patients with lumbosacral radiculopathy from an intervertebral disc herniation are frequently treated by transforaminal epidural steroid injections (TFESIs). The long-term outcomes of these patients are poorly described.PURPOSE: We aimed to determine the long-term outcomes for a homogenous group of patients with acute unilateral lumbar radicular pain due to single-level herniated nucleus after lumbar epidural steroid injection at ≥5 years.DESIGN: This is a prospective cohort study.PATIENT SAMPLE: Subjects enrolled into a previous reported multi-institutional randomized controlled trial, ≥18 years old with single leg radicular pain rating ≥4/10 for less than 6 months' duration, with radiographic imaging demonstrating an anatomically congruent single-level herniated nucleus pulposus.OUTCOME MEASURES: Presence of recurrent or persistent pain, pain within the previous week, current opioid use for radicular symptoms, additional spine injections for radicular pain, progression to surgery, and unemployment due to pain as determined by independent phone interview at least 5 years after enrolment due to the initial pain complaint were the outcome measures.METHODS: All patients initially underwent a single-level lumbar TFESIs due to failure of conservative care, but could elect to pursue surgical intervention or repeat injections through shared decision making with the treating physician when and if pain control was deemed inadequate. After ≥5 years, an independent assessor contacted the subjects by phone and performed a standardized interview to determine outcomes. Fisher exact test was used to compare outcomes for those who pursued versus those who did not pursue surgery.RESULTS: During the recruitment period (December 2008 to December 2012), 78 subjects were enrolled. At 5 years, 39 (50%) of the 78 subjects were reachable for independent phone follow-up. Of these, 30 (76.9%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 61.7%-87.4%) had a history of recurrent pain since the initial TFESI. However, only 9 (23.1%, 95% CI 12.7%-38.3%) had current pain, while 3 (7.7%, 95% CI 2.7%-20.3%) were currently taking opioid medications. Nine (23.1%, 95% CI 12.7%-38.3%) had received additional TFESIs, and 19 (48.7%, 95% CI 33.9%-63.8%) had received surgery. Only 3 (7.7%, 95% CI 2.7%-20.3%) were unemployed due to related pain at time of follow-up. When comparing the group that had surgery versus those that did not, there were no differences in the rates of recurrent pain (16, 84.2% vs. 14, 70.0%, p=.81), current pain (6, 31.6% vs. 3, 15.0%, p=.47), opioid use (2, 10.5% vs. 1, 5.0%, p=1.00), rate of additional injections (6, 31.6% vs. 3, 15.0%, p=.47), or unemployment status (2, 10.5% vs. 1, 5.0%, p=1.00).CONCLUSIONS: Despite a high success rate at 6 months, the majority of subjects experienced a recurrence of symptoms at some time during the subsequent 5 years. Fortunately, few reported current symptoms, and a small minority required additional injections, surgery, or opioid pain medications. Lumbar disc herniation is a disease that can be effectively treated in the short-term by TFESI or surgery, but long-term recurrence rates are high regardless of treatment received.

    View details for PubMedID 28962912

  • Does Immediate Pain Relief After an Injection into the Sacroiliac Joint with Anesthetic and Corticosteroid Predict Subsequent Pain Relief? Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.) Schneider, B. J., Huynh, L., Levin, J., Rinkaekan, P., Kordi, R., Kennedy, D. J. 2017


    To determine if immediate pain response following an injection with local anesthetic and corticosteroid predicts subsequent relief. Prospective observational cohort. An institutional review board-approved prospective study from a single academic medical center. Patients with clinical diagnosis of sacroiliac (SIJ) pain and referred for SIJ injection were enrolled; 1 cc of 2% lidocaine and 1 cc of triamcinolone 40 mg/mL were injected into the SIJ. Pain score on 0-10 numeric rating scale (NRS) during provocation maneuvers was recorded immediately before injection, immediately after injection, and at two and four weeks of follow-up. Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) was also recorded. Various cutoffs were identified to establish positive anesthetic response and successful outcomes at follow-up. These were used to calculated likelihood ratios. Of those with 100% anesthetic response, six of 11 (54.5%, 95% confidence interval [CI]+/-29.4%, +LR 2.6, 95% CI = 1.1-5.9) demonstrated 50% or greater pain relief at follow-up, and four of 11 (36.5%, 95% CI+/-28.4%, +LR 3.00, 95% CI = 1.4-5.1) had 100% relief at two to four weeks. Fourteen of 14 (100%, 95% CI+/-21.5%, -LR 0.0, 95% CI = 0.0-2.1) with an initial negative block failed to achieve 100% relief at follow-up. Patients who fail to achieve initial relief after SIJ injection with anesthetic and steroid are very unlikely to achieve significant pain relief at follow-up; negative likelihood ratios (LR) in this study, based on how success is defined, range between 0 and 0.9. Clinically significant positive likelihood ratios of anesthetic response to SIJ injection are more limited and less robust, but are valuable in predicting 50% relief or 100% relief at two to four weeks.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/pm/pnx104

    View details for PubMedID 28521006

  • Ideal cervical epidural injection route: interlaminar or transforaminal Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep Huynh, L., Smuck, M. 2015; 3 (2): 142-150
  • Does FAC predict response to epidural steroid injection Pain Med Huynh, L., Smuck, M., Martinez-Ith, A., Kennedy, D. J. 2014; 15: 1438-1439
  • Low Back Pain in Athletes ACSM Health and Fitness Journal Huynh, L., Chimes, G. P. 2014; 18: 15-22