Facet joint blocks are a slightly invasive procedure where a physician takes advantage of Fluoroscopy to help guide the placement of injections of medication into the facet joint to facilitate pain relief. The facet joints are placed in pairs on the side of each vertebra in the neck and back, permits movement and help support and balance in the spine. Injury or other ailments such as arthritis may bring pain and inflammation within the facet joints
When the facet joint procedure is recommended
The Facet joint procedure is commonly performed
- Reduce inflammation
- To provide long term pain relief
- Helps patients bear physical therapy and other rehabilitative exercise
- Helps physician diagnose the cause of back or neck pain
How should I prepare for Facet blocks?
At the Pain Management Institute founded by Dr Zaki Anwar, Pain management Specialist and Anesthesiologist, before your facet blocks your blood is tested to diagnose the clotting frequency. Dr. Zaki Anwar will perform the procedure by asking your history such as any medications you are taking, including any of the herbal supplements and if you have any allergies specifically for local anesthesia or any substance containing iodine. Dr Zaki Anwar will recommend you to stop taking aspirin, NSAIDs and other blood thinners for a particular interval before your procedure.
Metallic objects such as jewelry, eyeglasses, denture and hair pins may cause hindrance in the CT images and need to be taken off prior to the procedure. You are not allowed to eat or drink for a few hours before the procedure as the contrasting pigmentation is injected during facet blocks. If you are allergic to any pigmentation your doctor may prescribe medications such as steroid to reduce the risk of allergies
How does the procedure work?
In a facet joint block, the physicians either apply Fluoroscopy or CT scan to guide the needle into the targeted area through the skin into the facet joints. Contrast pigmentation is injected into the joint and needle placement to confirm that the needle has reached the desired location and the medication long with anesthetic is injected into the facet joint
What are the advantages as compared to the uncertainties?
The primary benefit of facet block is to provide long term pain relief. The exposure to X-Ray during the test will not harm you as;
- No radiation remains in a patient’s body after an x-ray examination.
- X-rays usually have no side effects in the diagnostic range.
Any procedure that involves the needle administration brings a risk of infection, however, the risk of infection with the use of antibiotics shows very rare cases of infections. Allergic reaction to the contrasting material, steroid or local anesthesia may happen. Life threatening or severe allergies are very rare. Bleeding may occur, but in very rare cases, it is more common in patients with underlying bleeding disorders