Inflammation of the facet joints in the spine can be a source of pain. Facet injections can help determine diagnostically how much pain is coming from the joints and may be therapeutic with relieving the pain. A facet block, or medial branch block, may be performed, in which local anesthetic is injected outside the joint but around the nerve that supplies that joint. If this results in pain relief, the targeted joint may be the pain generator. Alternatively, a facet injection may be performed, in which local anesthetic and corticosteroid is injected into the joint itself. This may be help with inflammation occurring within the joint.
Injections can be done under local anesthetic or with sedation by an anesthesiologist. The physician will sterilize the area and numb the skin with local anesthetic. Using fluoroscopy (or x-ray guidance), a needle is inserted into the target area. The selected medication is then injected. The procedure typically takes 10-15 minutes.
It is important to note the immediate effects of the injection and the effects over the following 12 hours.
Some medications such as blood thinners may need to be stopped several days before the procedure. Our office will provide this information to you prior to the injection.
Some clients may require two facet blocks or injections; this is individually assessed with a personalized plan by your physician. If two successful facet blocks are performed, then radiofrequency ablation may be recommended for longer term relief.
If you think you may be a candidate for facet injection, please call our office to schedule an appointment.