Healthy facet joints in the spine slide to allow movement, but prevent over-twisting. The breakdown or inflammation of cartilage inside the facet joint can be a significant source of pain. A facet joint injection is a minimally invasive procedure that targets the painful joint with steroids that can reduce swelling and inflammation.*
Facet Joint Procedure for Chronic Pain Relief
A facet joint injection is a 10-20 minute outpatient procedure that can effectively relieve lower back pain in the sacroiliac and gluteal regions of the spine with the application of steroids and local anesthetics. The numbing injection provides temporary relief while anti-inflammatory steroids provides long term relief. Dr. Skaribas utilizes fluoroscopy for precise injection placement into the facet joints.
During the facet joint injection procedure, the patient lies face down on the table. The area of the spine that will be treated is cleaned with antibacterial solution using aseptic techniques and a local anesthetic is used to numb the joint.
Once sterilized and numbed, Dr. Skaribas uses CT fluoroscopy imaging to precisely guide the needle into the facet joint. This type of imaging system used in conjunction with contrast dye provides the highest level of precision of the injection.
After the medication is slowly injected into the joint, the needle is released. The injection can be used to treat any facet joint that is causing pain, so this procedure may be repeated for the adjacent facet joints.
After the Procedure
After the procedure, the patient waits in the room for 20-30 minutes and is evaluated for side-effects and effectiveness. The patient is asked to perform certain movements that would normally aggravate their pain. Normally it takes 3-5 days for the pain to be completely relieved. Most patients experience almost immediate relief after the injection and most can go back to their daily routines right away.* Relief from the injection varies, but generally last around 6 months.* Injections can be repeated as necessary to continue pain relief.
Facet Joints and Medial Branch Nerves