What exactly is a facet injection?
A facet injection for pain management is a procedure where steroid medication is injected into the small little joints along the spinal column that are causing patient’s discomfort. A facet joint is about the size of a thumbnail and there is one on each side of the spinal column at every level of the spine.
What is the purpose of a facet injection?
Arthritis is one of the biggest problems in this country that generates pain in patients, and the facet joints are not unique. They experience arthritis as people age or after a traumatic situation, and if a person has arthritis at one facet joint they typically will have it in multiple. Surgery is not a great idea for arthritis and with a facet joint there is no procedure which can replace the facet joint to continue its motion. Therefore, an injection into the joint may provide symptomatic relief the same as having an injection into either her knee, hip, or shoulder.
How long does a facet injection take?
When a patient is receiving a facet injection they are receiving an injection into more than simply one facet joint, typically. Each facet joint injection may take a few minutes but the sum total of the whole procedure is usually less than 30 min.
What exactly is being injected with a facet injection?
When a facet injection is performed, also known as a facet block, numbing medicine is included along with the cortisone typically. There are a multitude of steroids that pain management doctors can use and often times it comes down to personal preference. This may include triamcinolone, methylprednisolone, or potentially a different one.
Does a facet injection hurt?
A facet injection does involve sticking a needle through the skin. So there is some discomfort from that, however, pain doctors will administer some numbing medicine underneath the skin as well as in the soft tissues leading down to the joints. So it really shouldn’t hurt tremendously. Patients may also receive IV sedation before and during the procedure which also makes it easier to tolerate.