Facet joints are small joints at the back of your spine that provide your vertebral column with stability. They can be found in three areas of your vertebral column – cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back) and lumbar (lower back).
A facet joint injection involves a long-lasting steroid and anaesthetic being injected under sterile conditions into the facet joint/s that are causing your discomfort. The steroid slowly reduces the inflammation and/or swelling in and around the facet joint/s which will assist in providing you with symptomatic relief.
Nerve roots are the parts of the nerves which emerge from the spinal cord. Conditions such as prolapsed discs can cause inflammation and irritation of the nerve roots. This may result in considerable pain in the spine and along the nerves into the arms or legs.
A nerve root injection involves a long-lasting steroid and anaesthetic being injected under sterile conditions into the nerve sheath of a single irritated or compressed nerve. The steroid slowly reduces the inflammation and/or swelling in and around the nerve which will assist in providing you with symptomatic relief.
A common cause of sciatic pain is an inflammatory response to nerve irritation by a disc protrusion or nerve entrapment.
An epidural injection involves a long-lasting steroid and anaesthetic being injected under sterile conditions into the epidural space, targeting multiple nerves at once. The steroid slowly reduces the inflammation and/or swelling in these nerves which will assist in providing you with symptomatic relief.
A medial branch block is performed to identify the exact source of your neck or back pain. This procedure is most commonly performed to investigate and determine suitability for Radiofrequency Neurotomy (RFN).
A medial branch block involves anaesthetic being injected onto small medial branch nerves which innervate to specific facet joints.
Preliminary imaging may need to be performed to review the area in question.
If you are taking blood thinning medications such as Warfarin, Xarelto or Aspirin, please let our booking staff know. You may need to reduce or cease this medication between 2 – 7 days before your procedure. Please consult with your referring health professional.
You will be escorted into the CT examination room and asked to lie down on the bed and made as comfortable as possible. You will be required to lie face down for most spinal injections, however for some injections into the cervical spine you will be asked to lie on your side.
The injection site will be cleaned with surgical skin preparation (antiseptic) before a local anaesthetic is administered using a fine needle to numb the area.
CT imaging technology is used to accurately locate the area that requires injection and to guide the needle.
The CT bed will move you into the gantry and then back out again a few times during the procedure as images are acquired.
The radiologist and imaging technician may leave the room then come back several times as they acquire the images and check where the needle is located.
You may feel some minor pressure or discomfort. We will do our very best to keep this to a minimum and keep you comfortable.
You may be asked to remain in the department for a small period of time afterwards to monitor any symptoms you are experiencing.
You will require someone to drive you home after the procedure.
It is advisable not to perform any lifting or physical activities that may aggravate your condition for at least 12 hours following the procedure.
It can take up to 2 weeks for the injection to take effect and some patients may require a combination of injections to completely alleviate their symptoms. The results from the injection will vary from person to person, as it is dependent on the extent of your issues in your spine.
Many people find they get good relief for at least 6-8 weeks and in some cases up to 12 months. It is recommended you consult with your referring health professional after this time frame to discuss your outcome.
- Your original referral or request form
- Medicare and any Government concession pension or health care cards
- Previous relevant imaging
You will receive a small dose of x-ray radiation during the procedure.
Please advise the imaging technologist if you are, or think you may be pregnant.
Diabetic patients may experience a temporary rise in blood sugar levels.
Minor side effects can be experienced by patients on rare occasions and will usually resolve within 48 hours of onset. This can include a pain flare up in the affected area within the first 24 hours following your injection; facial flushing or palpitations; temporary numbness or weakness in limbs (following nerve root or epidural injections).
More serious side effects such as bleeding or infections are extremely rare, however it is important to be aware that with any procedure where the skin has been breached you may be at risk of an infection. If you experience any redness or swelling at the procedure site, fever or chills, this can indicate an infection and you are urged to visit your referring health professional as soon as possible.
Please allow approximately 30-40 minutes.