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The facet joints are small joints along upper and lower part of each vertebra, connecting one vertebra to the other, which help guide motion and provide stability. Pain may arise in the facet joints because of injury to the spine, chronic degenerative change, or other diseases. A facet joint steroid injection is a minimally invasive treatment which can offer symptomatic relief from back pain caused by inflammation of the facet joints.

How does a Facet Joint Steroid Injection work?

The facet injection procedure can relieve pain by delivering anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication to the affected area of the spine. It may be performed primarily as a diagnostic test to determine if the pain is originating from the facet joints. Facet injection is often performed when other conservative treatments such as oral anti-inflammatory medications, rest, and physical therapy have been unsuccessful.

Facet Joint Steroid Injection procedure

Facet joint steroid injection may be done under moderate sedation, though local anesthesia is often adequate. During the procedure, you lay on your stomach and the injection site is cleaned. Using X-ray guidance to ensure proper placement, your doctor places a needle into the facet joint and injects a mixture of a steroid and anesthetic medication. If the facet joint cannot be entered due to bone spurs, the injection targets the surrounding tissue. The procedure typically takes 15-30 minutes, though can vary based on anatomy, prior surgeries, or other factors.

What are the associated risks and complications?

With any procedure, risks such as bleeding or infection at the injection site can occur. Patients often experience relief from pain, though complete or partial relief of symptoms does not always occur. Additional risks of the procedure will be discussed by the performing radiologist and nursing staff prior to the procedure.

Doctors performing Facet joint steroid injections

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