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Facet Joint Injections

Overview

The facet joints, found on both sides of the back of the spine, can become painfully irritated or inflamed. A facet joint injection may help diagnose the source of a patient's pain. It can also relieve pain and inflammation.

Preparation

In preparation for the procedure, the physician numbs the skin and tissue above the facet joint with an injection of local anesthetic.

Placing the Needle

With the aid of an x-ray device called a fluoroscope, the physician guides a needle through the numbed tissue and into the facet joint. Contrast dye is injected into the joint to confirm the needle's placement.

Injection

Once the needle is positioned properly, the physician injects a soothing mixture of numbing anesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroid medication. One or more facet joints may be treated. If this causes the pain to subside, it suggests that the facet joint (or joints) injected were the cause of pain.

End of Procedure and Aftercare

Back or neck pain may disappear immediately after a successful injection because of the anesthetic that is administered. As this anesthetic wears off, pain may return. The steroid will begin to take effect in the days after the injection. The steroid will reduce inflammation and pain. The injection can provide relief for a span ranging from several days to several months. Up to three injections may be given per year.

Overview

These injections help your doctor find or treat pain in the facet joints of your neck. Facet joints are found on both sides of your spine. Your vertebrae connect at these joints.

Preparation

To begin, your skin is numbed. With the help of a video x-ray device called a "fluoroscope", the doctor guides a needle to the target facet joint.

Injection

The doctor injects medicine into the joint. The medicine numbs your nerves. It can reduce inflammation. Your doctor may inject facet joints at more than one level of your spine.

End of Procedure and Aftercare

You may feel relief immediately. If so, that means your doctor has found the joint or joints causing your pain. Your doctor can repeat the procedure with longer-lasting medicine to help provide longterm relief. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that's right for you.

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