Facet Joint Injections

Facet Joint Injections 2019-01-10T17:21:52+00:00

Facet joint injections are used as a both a treatment and as a diagnotistic tool. The steroid part of the injection helps to reduce pain and inflammation within the spine.  The local anaesthetic part of the injection serves as the diagnostic tool and helps to confirm, or exclude, that the pain is originating from the facet joints and not, for example, the hips or elsewhere in the spine.

Mr Hilton performs all spinal injections in theatre and under X-ray guidance. He will also give you the choice of having the procedure performed under sedation or local anaesthetic.

What are the Facet Joints?

The vertebrae (bones) in the spine and the intervertebral discs are surrounded by muscles which are called the ‘core muscles’. Between each vertebrae there is a pair of joints which are mobile, interlock with each other and have some of the core muscles attaching to them; these joints are called the ‘facet joints’ (See ‘Facet Joint Disease’ in the section on ‘Conditions’). The facet joints slide over each other allowing the spine to bend and twist. Like all joints, both joint surfaces are coated with cartilage and they can become arthritic (‘degeneration’ or ‘wear and tear’).

Degeneration of the facet joints may cause back pain which is usually felt in the low back (lumbar spine) or in the neck (cervical spine).

How is a Facet Joint Injection Performed?

Cervical Facet Joint Injection

Mr Hilton performs all spinal injections under X-ray guidance to guarantee the injection is in exactly the right place. Patients are taken into the operating suite; some elect to have the procedure under sedation and other choose to have it under local anaesthetic. Either way, patients have the procedure lying on their front on the operating table with their head in a head ring to support it.

The image intensifier (a special X-ray machine) is used to guide a special needle into the affected facet joints and then a special dye is injected to confirm the correct position on the X-ray before the local anaesthetic and steroid is injected into the facet joints.

Lumbar Facet Joint Injection

Like all spinal injections, Mr Hilton performs lumbar facet joint injections under X-ray guidance to guarantee the injection is in exactly the right place. Patients are taken into the operating suite; some elect to have the procedure under sedation and other choose to have it under local anaesthetic. Either way, patients have the procedure lying on their front on the operating table.

The image intensifier (a special X-ray machine) is used to guide a special needle into the affected facet joints and then a special dye is injected to confirm the correct position on the X-ray before the local anaesthetic and steroid is injected into the facet joints.

Risks And Complications Of Nerve Root Injections

(About 1 In 5000)

Infection, Bleeding, DVT/PE, Facial Flushing, Allergic Reaction, Nerve Damage, CVA (Stroke), Recurrence Or Failure To Relieve Symptoms.