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Information for helping to manage pain.

Facet Joint

Facet joints are the joints between vertebra, which are present on both sides of the spine, are two in number for each disc, and provide flexibility to the spine which allows you to bend at the waist.

There is one joint on each side (right and left), facet joints are hinge-like and link vertebra together. They are located in the back of the spine which is called posterior aspect.

What is a facet joint block?

Each facet joint is supplied by two nerves. A facet joint block can be performed by injecting into the joint called intra-articular injection. If the injection is close to the nerves supplying the joint, it is called facet medial branch block (FMBB).

These blocks can be performed for the diagnosis of the pain coming from the facet joints or for the treatment of the pain coming from the facet joints.

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What to do before the procedure?

It is important if a FMBB is to be performed, the patient does not take pain medication for 24 hours before the procedure.

What happens during the procedure?

The patient is taken to the preoperative area where an intravenous infusion is started and sedation is given. In the operating room, the patient is positioned on the abdomen. The skin at the injection site is cleaned with alcohol and Betadine. Following this the physician numbs a small area of skin with numbing medicine.

A needle is passed in the facet joint under fluoroscopy guidance x-ray and the physician is able to watch the needle as it moves to its destination. At this time a mixture of numbing medicine (local anesthetic) and anti-inflammatory steroid is injected. Several joints are blocked. If an FMBB is being performed, only the numbing medicine is injected close to the nerves supplying the facet joint.

How long does it take?

Fifteen minutes for procedure and 15-30 minutes in the recovery room.

What happens after the procedure?

The patient is taken into the recovery room for observation. In the initial phase the patient is evaluated for pain relief with the block by performing previously painful activities.

At Neuroscience Associates of Northern Kentucky we know you are seeking relief and expert Pain Management.  Our expertise will help start you on the road to recovery.  Schedule an appointment and let our doctors assess your unique condition and discuss treatment options that are right for you.