Facet Joint Injections

What is a Facet Joint Injection?

Facet joints are small joints located in pairs on the back part of the spine. With age or injury the cartilage in these joints can wear down leading to arthritis and pain. A facet joint injection is a minimally invasive procedure that is done to relieve pain from arthritis affecting the facet joints.

How does a Facet Joint Injection Relieve Pain?

Facet Joint injections work by placing an anesthetic (numbing) medication along with a steroid medication directly into the joint. If the anesthetic medication provides immediate pain relief this helps to confirm the joint as the source of pain. The steroid medication reduces inflammation within the joint and may lead to longer term pain relief. The anesthetic medicine works to give relief of pain on the day of the injection while the steroid can take anywhere from a few hours to up to one week to begin to take effect. The response can help plan for a more permanent way of providing pain relief.

What Happens During the Procedure?

The procedure is performed using an X-Ray machine. This enables the doctor to see your spine and make sure the medicine is going in the right place. The procedure is done with the patient laying on a procedure table. After numbing the area of skin with anesthetic medication the physician will perform the procedure. The procedure is minimally invasive and usually takes between 15-20 minutes to complete. The procedure may involve one or more joints depending on the location of pain and the number of joints that are affected.

What Happens After the Procedure?

After the procedure the patient is brought to the recovery area and monitored for a short period of time to make sure that they are safe to leave. The anesthetic medicine may make you feel some numbness or weakness. This is expected and will wear off within a short period of time. You may be asked to rate your pain on a pain scale after the procedure. For patient safety and the safety of others a designated driver must accompany the patient and be responsible for getting them home. Patients may return to their normal activities the day after the procedure, including returning to work.

Where is the Procedure Done?

At Oasis Interventional Spine Care all procedures are performed at the Chestnut Hill Hospital (Tower Health), which is located at 8835 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118.