Tampa Facet Injections
Facet joint injections usually have two goals: to help diagnose the cause and location of pain and also to provide pain relief:
Diagnostic goals: By placing numbing medicine into the facet joint, the amount of immediate pain relief experienced by the patient will determine if the facet joint is a source of pain. If complete pain relief is achieved while the facet joint is numb, it means that joint is likely a source of pain.
If the facet joint is diagnosed as the pain generator, further treatment such as facet ablation can be a very successful form of treatment.
Pain relief: Along with the numbing medication, a facet joint injection also includes injecting steroid (cortisone) into the facet joint to reduce inflammation, which can provide longer-term pain relief. The pain relief from a facet joint injection helps a patient regain their functional activities and better tolerate rehabilitation programs for their injury or back condition.
Facet joint injection is used as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool to confirm that facet syndrome is the source of your pain.
These procedures provide an effective treatment regimen that affords substantial, sustained pain relief.
It is commonly used for the relief of spinal axial pain.
Facet syndrome is inflammation or irritation of one or more of these joints.
Arthritis which occurs when the cartilage lining the joint surface shrinks and wears thin, causing stress on the bone (bone spurs), inflammation, and enlargement of the joint.
Facet joints are small joints at each segment of the spine that provide stability and help guide spinal motion. The facet joints can become painful due to degeneration and arthritis of the spine from a back injury, or mechanical stresses to the spine.
A cervical, thoracic or lumbar facet joint injection involves injecting a small amount of local anesthetic (numbing agent) and/or steroid medication, which can anesthetize the facet joints and block the pain.
Facet joint injections are done using fluoroscopy for guidance to target and place the needle accurately for effective treatment.
A facet joint injection is a simple procedure performed in an office- based suite or in an ambulatory surgical center.
The risk is low and complications are rare with these procedures but may include:
Allergic reaction to the X-ray contrast or steroid may occur; rarely to the local anesthetic. Life threatening or severe allergies are rare.
Bleeding is a rare complication and may occur in patients with underlying bleeding disorders or in patients on blood thinners.
Minor infections may occur in less than 1% to 2% of all injections but severe infections are very rare, occurring in 0.1% to 0.01% of injections.
Discomfort at the point of the injection or worsening of pain symptoms are usually mild and short-lived. Long lasting increases in pain are rare.
Nerve or spinal cord damage or paralysis is extremely rare. It can occur from direct trauma from the needle, or secondarily from infection or bleeding resulting in compression of the cord or spinal nerve.
The patient will either have received the procedure for diagnosis purposes and an ablation will be scheduled or they have received it for pain relief and can be normally active and exercising under supervision within 48 hours.
Facet joint injections have been performed safely for many years with positive outcomes.
Immediately following the procedure, you may have a tender back or neck for one to two days.
It’s recommended that you take it easy the day of the procedure, but return cautiously to your usual activities the following day.
The pain relief benefits from facet joint injections typically begin on the second to third day.