Facet injection is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive pain management technique used to treat patients suffering from chronic back and neck pain. The procedure is similar to epidural steroid injection in that a combination of a steroid and an anesthetic is injected by the interventional radiologist, but in this case the medication is injected directly into the facet joints between each set of vertebrae. These joints allow the vertebrae to flex and move against each other, but when they are affected by inflammation, injury, or wear, these movements can become extremely painful and lead to chronic pain.
Facet Injection Explained
Less Pain, More Movement
The procedure reduces inflammation and swelling around the facet joints, which in turn may reduce pain or other symptoms caused either by inflammation or by the joints moving against surrounding structures. This can reduce spinal pain, but can also reduce referred pain in surrounding tissues or even in the arms and legs.
During the procedure, the interventional radiologist inserts a needle through the skin and deeper tissues, using X-ray fluoroscopy to precisely place the needle directly into each facet joint. Local anesthetic is used to numb the area where the needle is inserted, but in some cases intravenous sedation can also be used to make the procedure easier to tolerate.