Image Guided Facet Joint Injections
Facet joints are small joints of the spine that provide stability and help to guide motion. They are located along each side of the spine and are found in the neck (cervical), upper back (thoracic) and lower back (lumbar). Over time these joints can wear and become inflamed. Pain can also be as a result of arthritis or injury.
Two nerves called medial branches supply each facet joint. These nerves carry pain signals to the spinal cord and these pain signals will eventually reach the brain.
Facet joint injections can be used to help manage severe back pain.
Carried out under x-ray or CT image guiding a combination of anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroid can be injected into the facet joints and/ or medial branch nerves to provide pain relief.
Patient Preparation – facet joint injection
- Patients will be seen for a consultation prior to their initial injection.
- Patients may be asked to fast before their appointment. Your doctor will advise you at the time of booking.
- Patients are to advise us if they are taking any medications ESPECIALLY those that thin the blood such as warfarin or aspirin.
- Patients are required to bring all previous imaging at the time of consultation and injection procedures.
The Procedure – facet joint injection
The Facet Joint Injection will be performed in our specially designed x-ray room. You will be placed on the patient table lying down normally on your stomach or back. The area to be injected will be administered with local anaesthetic. Using fluoroscopy or CT scanning guidance our radiologist will insert the needle into the facet joint. A combination of local anaesthetic and steroid solution will be injected here. There may be some discomfort for a short period of time until the injection begins to take effect.
The procedure itself usually takes no longer than 10 to 15 minutes but staff may ask you stay in the clinic for an additional 10 to 15 minutes for observation.
Patient After Care
- After the procedure you will be capable of driving however if you feel unsure it is preferable to have someone accompany you to drive you home.
- It may take a few days for the benefits of the injection to take effect.
- There may be a slight soreness or bruising at the injection site.
- Patients may experience temporary numbness around the injection site.
- We recommend that you abstain from physical activities for 48 hours following a facet joint injection.
- You will be given a pain score chart – it is important to complete this and bring it to your next appointment.
- Other side effects and permanent neurological damage are extremely rare.
We are here to help
If you have any questions regarding facet joint injections please contact our Subiaco rooms on (08) 9284 2900.
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