Facet joints are the small joints at the back of the spine. They are the same in nature as the major joints in the body e.g. knee and hip. As such they undergo arthritic and degenerative change. Approximately 40 – 50% of back pain comes from the facet joints, especially in senior citizens.
This procedure involves the injection of local anaesthetic to the nerve to the small joints (facet joints) at the back of my spine and is performed to relieve pain and assess suitability for later radiofrequency neurotomy. The injection is thought to act through a variety of mechanisms. It is thought that the local anaesthetic alters pain signals and decreases pain from the joint.
On average most patients get three to nine months relief of pain with most patients getting on average six months of relief. Some patients however get minimal relief from the procedure
If the procedure is successful then a more permanent procedure can be performed, radiofrequency neurotomy. For more information discuss this with your pain specialist.
This procedure is performed as a day patient. You will be prepared for theatre and placed in a theatre gown. Once you are on the operating table, the anaesthetist will place a cannulae in your arm and sedative drugs will be administered.
The procedure is performed under sterile conditions. A fine needle is inserted under X-ray control into the facet joints and local anaesthetic and steroid injected.