Overview & Procedure
A facet joint injection is a minimally invasive injection procedure that helps diagnose and treat pain caused by damaged facet joints in the spine. These joints help stabilize the spine and encourage movement, like bending and twisting, to keep the back flexible. This injection technique is typically performed on patients who suffer from painful, degenerative conditions such as facet joint syndrome and spinal arthritis.
During the procedure, a local anesthetic is injected near the damaged facet joints to numb the skin and surrounding tissue. Once the injection site is numb, the physician will use fluoroscopy (x-ray imaging) to guide the needle into the damaged facet joint and inject local anesthetic and steroid medication. After the damaged facet joints have been treated with the facet joint injection, the physician will remove the needle and place a bandage over the surgical site.
Immediately after the procedure, patients are sent to a separate room to recover. During this time, the patient’s vitals are monitored for any signs of an adverse reaction. After a facet joint injection, patients may experience a significant reduction in their pain symptoms. This is usually due to the anesthetic, and some pain may return after the numbing medication has worn off. Pain will begin to decrease over the course of several days as the steroids take effect. Patients will be given a set of aftercare instructions before being sent home. Some of these instructions may advise patients to avoid strenuous activities, bathing in a bathtub, or taking pain medications. Patients should report any signs of a fever, infection, redness, swelling, and increased pain to their Southwest Spine and Pain Center physician immediately if any of these complications arise.