Facet joint injections are a diagnostic and therapeutic tool used to reduce pain and inflammation in damaged facet joints. Patients suffering from spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, sciatica, or arthritis typically benefit most from this procedure. When used as a diagnostic test, facet joint injections help physicians determine whether or not a patient's pain is coming from facet joints in the neck or back. If the patient experiences relief following this initial diagnostic procedure, a facet joint injection with a longer lasting corticosteroid will be delivered to the area causing pain.
What To Expect
A review of the patient's medical history and imaging studies will be performed before administering a facet joint injection, which ensures needle placement accuracy. On the day of the procedure, the patient will lie face down on an examination table. A TriState Pain Institute physician will administer conscious sedation to lessen the patient's anxiety and discomfort throughout the procedure, and the skin surrounding the injection site(s) will be numbed with a local anesthetic.
Using a fluoroscope (x-ray device), the physician will insert a hollow needle through the skin, muscles, and sensory nerves of the affected facet joints. A contrast dye may be injected into the facet joint to help locate the targeted joints. Once the needle is in the correct position, an anesthetic and corticosteroid medication will be injected into the facet joint capsule. The needle will then be removed and the injection site may be bandaged.
Depending on the patient's condition and pain symptoms, more than one injection may be administered to reach adequate pain relief. Patients will be monitored in a recovery room before being allowed to return home. A driver must be present before the patient can be released. Soreness and mild bruising and swelling may occur a few days after the procedure. A TriState Pain Institute physician may request a follow-up appointment 7-10 days after the facet joint injection. Pain relief generally occurs several days after the procedure and may last several days, weeks, or months.