FACET JOINT INJECTION PROCEDURE
WHAT ARE FACET JOINTS?
The facet joints, found on both sides of the back of the spine, can become painfully irritated or inflamed. Facet joint injections function both as a diagnostic tool to identify the origin of a patient’s pain and as a therapeutic measure to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE PROCEDURE?
In preparation for the procedure, the physician administers a local anesthetic injection to numb the skin and tissue above the facet joint.
Assisted by a fluoroscope, an x-ray device, the physician carefully directs a needle through the numbed tissue and into the facet joint. To confirm accurate needle placement, contrast dye is injected into the joint.
Once the needle is correctly positioned, the physician delivers a soothing mixture comprising a numbing anesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroid medication. This mixture is injected into one or more facet joints. If the pain subsides as a result, it indicates that the injected facet joint(s) may be the source of pain.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF A FACET JOINT INJECTION?
Immediate relief from back or neck pain can be experienced following a successful injection due to the presence of the anesthetic. However, as the effects of the anesthetic wear off, the pain may return.
The steroid medication will gradually take effect in the days following the injection, working to reduce both inflammation and pain. The duration of relief provided by the injection can vary, ranging from several days to several months. It is possible to receive up to three injections per year as needed.
For more information about the procedure watch the Facet Joint Injection Video.