Facet Joint Injection

Facet Joint Injection

What is Facet Joint?

Facet joints are located on the back (posterior) of the spine on each side where two adjacent vertebrae meet. The facet joints provide stability and permit the spine to bend and twist. The joint contains cartilage between bones and is surrounded by a sac-like capsule that is filled with lubricating fluid.

How does a facet joint disorder cause back pain?

The facet joints in the lower back are subjected to excessive load from regular activities of daily living, exercise, work, and other actions and movements. These joints can become painful from:

  • Poor posture
  • Age-related degeneration of the intervertebral disc and other supporting tissues of the spine
  • Sudden, acute trauma, such as from an accident, fall, or sports-related injury
  • Chronic lower back injury due to repetitive overuse of the facets

What are the symptoms of facet joint disorders?

The following are the symptoms of facet joint disorders:

  • Localized dull pain in the back
  • Radiating pain to the buttock, thigh, legs, or foot
  • Tenderness
  • Joint Stiffness

What does facet joint injection procedure involve?

Before the procedure

Your doctor reviews your complete medical history and previous imaging results to plan the best approach for the injections. Please provide details of all the medications you are currently taking.

Our team will provide you with a complete set of instructions about preparing yourself for the procedure. These can include:

  • Having someone to stay with you immediately after the procedure
  • Your doctor might ask you to stop taking certain medications and supplements
  • Arrange for a ride home

During the procedure

A local anesthetic is used to numb the treatment area, so discomfort is minimal throughout the procedure. You will remain awake and aware during the injection to provide feedback to your doctor. A low dose of oral sedative may be administered depending on the requirement.

With the aid of fluoroscopy, your doctor directs a hollow needle through the skin into the capsule that surrounds the facet. Fluoroscopy allows the doctor to watch the needle in real-time on the x-ray monitor, ensuring that the needle goes to the desired location. You might feel some pressure in that area.

When the needle is correctly positioned, the anesthetic and corticosteroid medications are injected into the facet joint capsule. The needle is then removed. One or several spinal levels may be injected. A bandage may be placed over the injection site.

After the procedure

You will rest in the recovery room for 15 to 30 minutes. Our nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse. The nurse will also discuss your discharge instructions with you. Pain relief may begin immediately after the medication has been injected.

The report of the procedure, medication prescription, etc., will be provided to you at the time of discharge.

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