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Facet Joint Injection

Facet Joint Injections (also called Selective Facet Medial Branch Block, Medial Block, Facet Nerve Block, or Facet Injection) are mixtures of anesthetic and steroids, and are aimed at relieving pain stemming from particular facet joint(s).

Benefits of Facet Joint Injection

Facet joint injections are usually composed of a mixture of an anesthetic and a steroid or corticosteroid. In addition to using facet joint injections to relieve pain, your doctor may use them diagnostically to distinguish facet joint disease from other potential causes of spinal pain. They are used for people who have arthritis or other problems affecting the facet joints, which sit between the bones of the spinal column. These problems are known collectively as facet joint disease. The symptoms associated with facet joint disease sometimes mimic the symptoms associated with other spinal problems, such as herniated discs.

Since a facet joint injection doesn’t typically affect other areas in your spine, your doctor will attempt a diagnosis by injecting a small amount of anesthetic into the facet joint and observing the results. If this injection eases your symptoms, you most likely have facet joint disease. You can then gain longer-term relief with an injection that combines a larger dose of anesthetic with a corticosteroid.

To determine if you are a candidate for facet joint injection, contact one of our Patient Care Managers at 877.474.2225. If you have already seen a physician, send us a copy of your recent MRI or CT for review using the form on this page.

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Details of the Facet Joint Injection

Facet joints are connecting points located on each side of the rear sections of your vertebrae. They contain cartilage that coats the bone surfaces and prevents bone-on-bone contact, and are enclosed by a supporting tissue structure called a joint capsule, which secretes a protective and lubricating substance called synovial fluid. Facet joint disease occurs when the facet joints become damaged or inflamed, or when enlargement of a facet joint inhibits the normal passage of a spinal nerve.

A facet joint injection is typically directed to the enclosed space of your facet joint and does not have an impact on other spinal areas. Usually, you will receive an injection while lying face-down on a table. When used for treatment, a facet joint injection contains a combination of an anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory medication. When used for facet joint disease diagnosis, the injection contains only a small dose of anesthetic. The injection–which is typically not painful–takes 15-30 minutes.

Preparing for the Facet Joint Injection

Before receiving a facet injection, most physicians will require an MRI or CT-scan to get a better picture of what could be causing the pain. Often, a facet injection is often just one portion of the conservative treatment method a physician may suggest to treat back or neck pain. Other methods include physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments. If these conservative methods have not produced meaningful, long-lasting relief, you may be a candidate for a surgical North American Spine procedure.

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Facet Joint Injection Recovery

Most patients will be able to return to normal activities the next day, though the injection site may have some dull soreness. Side effects–including headaches and infections–are rare. Your physician will counsel you on these risks prior to the procedure.

To determine if you are a candidate for a facet joint injection, contact us anytime at 877.474.2225 or submit a form on this page.

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Barbara D.

Condition: Herniated Disc

Procedure: ACDF

“Almost all of my symptoms have resolved and I have full use of everything.”

"My quality of life was falling fast with the inability to use both of my arms and hands due to numbness...I am still in the healing process, however life is great now. Almost all of my symptoms have resolved and I have full use of everything. I can grab something and actually hold onto it."

Connect With A Patient

Some of our former patients have been kind enough to offer to speak with back and neck pain sufferers who are looking into treatment options. We encourage you to take them up on it! After we determine a treatment plan, we’ll connect you with a past patient who had a similar condition and procedure.

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