Facet joints connect vertebrae to one another and are located on top of and below each vertebra. They are the portion of the spine that permit its movement. In many cases, the inside of the joints can become irritated and inflamed, causing significant pain. Often the best solution is to undergo facet injections, which use anesthetic and long-lasting steroids to reduce inflammation.
Utah Facet Injections Treatment
Facet joint injections are very similar to Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI), but differ in the location of the injection. Where an ESI is injected into the epidural space in the spine, a facet joint injection is done directly into the joint. A combination of steroids and anesthetics are injected to both numb the area and reduce inflammation. The patient is kept awake during the procedure, which is minimally invasive and usually only takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Risks and Benefits
As with every medical procedure, there are both risks and benefits that must be weighed before planning is done. Facet injections are minimally invasive and are done as an outpatient procedure. Also, because it is not surgical procedure, the healing time is much quicker than that of an incision. Although risks are minimal, one potential complication is the misplacement of the needle (at Omega we use fluoroscopic guidance to increase accuracy). Needle misplacement can result in nerve damage, headache, bleeding, or infection. The treatment does not always alleviate pain as one would hope, but this also tells the physician more about your condition and can help in correctly diagnosing the problem. The procedure tends to be beneficial and can result in rapid relief from pain, reduction of oral pain medication, and ultimately help people return to their regular lives.
Facet injections are becoming more and more popular in the medical community because they are proving to be very safe and effective procedures. Every individual will respond differently to pain reduction procedures, but the average patient finds substantial relief from facet joint injections and can maintain relief with roughly three injections per year following the initial procedure.
Pain Education Center
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