Medial Branch Block
(Facet Injection) in New Jersey
This diagnostic and therapeutic procedure is performed to identify painful facet joints. The facet joints are the joints between the vertebrae in the spine that allow the spine to bend, flex and twist.
What to Expect from a Medial Branch Block
In preparation for the procedure, the patient will be positioned on the stomach. The physician will inject a local anesthetic to numb the skin and tissue around the facet.
Using a Fluoroscope for a Medial Branch Block
Once this tissue is numb, the physician inserts a needle into the skin. The needle is carefully guided down to the facet joint. The physician injects a contrast solution through this needle. The contrast solution helps the physician see the area on a camera called a fluoroscope. The fluoroscope provides live x-ray images. The physician uses the fluoroscope to confirm the location of the needle’s tip.Once the physician has confirmed that the needle is positioned correctly, the physician attaches a syringe containing an anesthetic medication. This medication is injected around small nerves called the medial branch nerves. These carry signals to and from the facet joints. The anesthetic will temporarily block sensation in these nerves.
Procedure after a Medial Branch Injection
If the temporary injection relieves the patient’s pain, the physician may inject a more long-lasting anesthetic. If the temporary injection does not relieve the pain, the physician may test nearby facet joints to identify the correct one.
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