Facet joints, which connect bones in the spine, facilitate motion. Each vertebra has two sets of facet joints: one pair faces upward and one downward.
The joints, which are located at the back of the spine, are like hinges that link the vertebrae together.
This examination uses contrast dye to pinpoint the source of pain within the facet joints of the spine. It also uses therapeutic steroids and local anesthetic to decrease the pain and inflammation that may be present in this area. Pain relief from a facet joint injection procedure varies from minimal to long-term, depending on the specific symptoms.
The procedure takes 10-30 minutes and you will be asked to wait 30-40 minutes after your procedure before leaving. Using a thin needle and fluoroscopy (x-ray) for guidance, the radiologist will place contrast, anesthetic, and steroid into the facet joint. During the procedure you may feel some slight pressure or discomfort. The radiologist will be interested in how this discomfort compares to your usual pain symptoms. In addition, your doctor will want you to keep track of any changes in your pain symptoms in the days and weeks following the injection in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.
Due to the effects of certain medications, your driving reflexes may be impaired. Consequently, you will need someone to drive you home after your exam. Please make the necessary arrangements or request assistance in advance from CDI.