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Facet Joint Injections

What is a Facet Joint Injection?

The Facet Joint Injection is a procedure used to block or decrease pain caused by problems in the spine. Facet joints, which are not much larger than your thumbnail, are located on either side of each vertebra. If the joints become inflamed you may experience pain and discomfort.

Before the procedure

There is no need to fast before the procedure. If you are a diabetic, be sure to discuss your eating and medication schedule with your doctor. You may need to stop taking certain medications (i.e. warfarin) several days before the procedure. Your doctor will tell you if and when you need to discontinue the medications.

During the procedure

The Facet Joint Injection is performed in our CT room. Your skin is cleansed with an antiseptic after which the radiologist injects local anaesthetic into your skin and tissue. After the local anaesthetic takes effect the radiologist will insert another needle, and uses the CT scanner to confirm correct needle position. When satisfied with the needle position, the doctor will inject a small mixture of long-acting local anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory medicine (cortisone/steroid). The procedure normally takes no longer than 10 or 15 minutes.

We ask that you remain at the clinic until the radiologist feels you are ready to leave. This will usually be for 10-15 minutes only. No sedation is necessary, so you should be capable of driving.

After the procedure

We recommend that you abstain from physical activities for 48 hours following a facet joint injection. Depending on how you feel, you may resume normal activities and return to work the following day. If your doctor prescribes physical therapy, it is very important that you continue with the physical therapy program. Although you may feel much better immediately after the injection (due to the numbing medicine), there is a possibility your pain may return within a few hours. It may take up to 2-3 weeks for the medication to start working.

Procedure Risks

The risks, although infrequent, include infection and bleeding at the site of injection. Rarely, adverse events may include damage to adjacent nerves and spinal structures.


Bookings are required for this procedure.

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