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Facet Joint Injections

A facet joint injection is an injection of a long acting local anesthetic agent and/or steroid into the paravertebral facet joint, medial branch nerve, or facet joint nerve under fluoroscopic guidance. Facet joints, also called zygapophysial joints, are located on the posterior spine on each side of the vertebrae where it overlaps the neighboring vertebrae. The facet joints provide stability and give the spine the ability to bend and twist.

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Our team of board-certified pain relief and physical medicine & rehabilitation specialists use non-invasive, interventional pain management techniques to relieve pain and help you live a healthy, active life.

At Metro Spine, this procedure is performed in a Medicare-certified and state-certified Ambulatory Surgery Center equipped with the most advanced technology to accurately perform interventions. Fluoroscopy (X-Ray imaging) is used by our pain specialist to guide a needle into the joint to inject the anesthetic agent. A diagnosis is confirmed by relief of the pain. Corticosteroid (a strong long acting anti-inflammatory agent) may also be injected into the joint to provide extended relief of pain in that joint.

Because patient comfort is of paramount importance at MSPCs, interventions using MAC is an option offered. Local anesthetic is injected in the area to be entered even if monitored anesthetic care (MAC) is used in the center.

How long does this procedure take to perform?

At the Metro Spine Pain Center’s ambulatory surgery center, the facet joint injection is safely performed, using state of the art equipment. The procedure, from sterile preparation to completion takes about 20 minutes with a short period of observation before discharge.

What should one expect after the facet joint injection?

We recommend that you have a driver to take you home. We also recommend that you rest and take it easy for the rest of the day. Right after the injection you may feel that your pain is gone or quite less than prior to the procedure. This is due to the anesthetic. The anesthetic will last for a few hours. The pain may return and you may have soreness once the anesthetic wears off. You may want to apply ice to the affected area. You should start noticing pain relief 3-5 days after the procedure.

How frequently should one have these procedures performed?

If the first injection does not relieve your symptoms in about 2-3 weeks, you may be recommended to have one more injection. Depending on your response after a second injection you may have a third injection or possible radiofrequency ablation.