What is a Facet Joint Injection?
A facet injection is an injection that goes into the facet joint space. The facet joints are the areas that connect the vertebra above and below, each vertebrae has four facet joints. These facet joints can become inflamed and cause extreme pain. The facet joint injection has two purposes: first is a diagnostic test to see if the facet joints are the problem and this is called a Medial Branch Block (MBB); the second purpose is to relieve the pain around the facet joint area, or directly in between the facet joint, by injecting a steroid to take down the inflammation.
How does a Facet Joint Injection relieve my pain?
Facet injections are typically used when the facet joints are inflamed. This inflammation causes the nerves to transmit pain impulses to the brain. The facet injection blocks these impulses by injecting an anti-inflammatory around or in the facet joint itself, and this reduces the pain.
What can I expect during and after this procedure?
- The procedure usually takes 15 to 30 minutes
- The patient lays flat on his/her abdomen
- The area of the injection site is cleaned and numbed
- The patient is put under with a light sedation
- Using live X-ray (fluoroscopy) for guidance, the physician inserts the needle toward the facet joint area.
- The steroid is injected.
- Patient is usually monitored for 15-20 minutes before being discharged.
- The patient must have a driver
- Patients are usually asked to rest the day of the injection
- Normal activities can be typically resumed within 24-48 ours following injection.
Published Clinical Evidence
- Interventional Therapies for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Focused Review (Efficacy and Outcomes)
- Spinal injection of local anesthetic during cervical facet joint injection
- A Systematic Review and Best Evidence Synthesis of the Effectiveness of Therapeutic Facet Joint Interventions in Managing Chronic Spinal Pain.