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Facet Joint Injections

Facet joints are paired structures at the back of each vertebra. The facet joints, like other joints in the body, form a working motion unit that allows movement between two vertebrae. These joints allow the spine to bend and twist. Facet joint injections can alleviate pain caused by arthritis and joint degeneration by reducing inflammation or increasing lubrication.

What is a Facet Joint Injection?

This minimally invasive procedure is performed under fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance by our specialist using a steroid and anti-inflammatory mixture which is injected where two vertebrae join in the Cervical, Thoracic, or Lumbar region of the spine.

Facet joint injections (FJI) can be used for diagnostic (Pain Identifier) and therapeutic purposes (Pain Relief).

What to expect during a Facet Joint Injection procedure

Your pain specialist will have you lay on your stomach while they numb the surrounding skin nearest the pain site with a local anesthetic. With fluoroscopic guidance, a thin needle is slid into your back into the facet joint, where a small amount of contrast dye is then injected to confirm that the needle is in the joint and that medication is contained inside the joint.

Following this confirmation, a small mixture of anesthetic (such as lidocaine) and anti-inflammatory medication (steroid/cortisone) is then slowly injected into the joint.

What to expect after a Facet Joint Injection procedure

The injection itself will only take a few minutes, however the overall procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes. You will typically remain resting in the recovery area for twenty to thirty minutes, and then asked to perform some movements or activities that would usually provoke pain.

A diagnostic Facet Joint Injection will provide relief right away from the anesthetic, but the relief will end in about an hour or so.

Therapeutic Facet Joint Injections can take a few days to feel relief and may remain for days, weeks, or months, depending on the amount of injury to the site. It is common to repeat these injections to provide further relief. You may feel some soreness around the injection site, and this can be remedied by applying ice as needed.

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