FACET JOINT INJECTION/ MEDIAL BRANCH BLOCK

facet joint

What is facet joint injection?

 

A facet joint injection is an injection of an anesthetic with a long lasting steroid (“cortisone”) into the facet joints. Facet joints are located in the back and neck at each vertebral level. They are surrounded by a capsule that has nerves both inside the capsule of the joint and outside which can cause pain.

 

What is the purpose of facet joint injections?

 

The steroid injected reduces the inflammation in the joint space. This can reduce pain, and other symptoms caused by inflammation such as nerve irritation.

 

How long does the injection take and will it hurt?

The actual injection takes only a few minutes. The procedure is done under local anesthesia to minimize discomfort.

 

How is the injection performed?

 

It is done with the patient lying on the stomach with fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance. The skin is cleansed with anti-septic solution and then the injection is carried out. After the injection, you are taken to a recovery area to rest.

 

What are the risk and complications?

 

It is generally a safe procedure. But as with any interventional procedure, it carries a small risk of potential complications such as bleeding, infection, leaking spinal fluid & injury to blood vessels or nerves in and around the spine.

 

What should I expect after the injection?

 

Immediately after the injection, you may feel that your pain may be gone or quite less. This is due to the local anesthetic injected. This will last for a few hours. The steroid medication will take about 3-5 days to work and cause overall anti-inflammatory effect and pain reduction. The steroid will offer relief for several months duration.