Facet joints are part of your spine. They are small joints that connect adjacent vertebral bones in the back where they come together.
Facets can cause pain if they break, become arthritic, or injured.
A facet block can be done for two reasons. It can be used to see if a particular joint is causing one’s pain. A small amount of a Novocain like drug is used to numb the joint. If the pain goes away, it is assumed that the joint is the problem. Facet blocks can also be done for treatment. Injecting steroids can get rid of pain long term.
After an initial consultation with Dr. Chowdhury and your questions answered satisfactorily, you will be escorted to a procedure suite and positioned prone on the fluoroscopic table. The doctor watches on a fluoroscope as he inserts the thin needle to make sure it goes into the correct facet joint (a fluoroscope is a special X-ray TV that allows the doctor to see your spine and the needle). Once the needle is in the facet joint, he will inject a steroid into the joint.
Patients are able to leave the clinic upon completion of the procedure. If your pain goes away after the injection, it can be inferred that the targeted facet joint(s) is your pain generator. Although facet injections may provide long lasting relief, many do not. If relief lasts longer than several months, injections may certainly be repeated. However, if dramatic but brief relief is obtained, more diagnostic injections such as Medial Branch Blocks may be more appropriate. Potential side effects from steroid administration may include transient flushing, restlessness and elevation of blood sugar. You should follow up with your referring physician’s office in ten to fourteen days, unless instructed otherwise, accompanied with your questionnaire for evaluation.