Facet injections may provide relief for patients with low back and leg pain stemming from inflammation or irritation of the facet joints. Patients receiving facet injections normally have not responded to other conservative treatment such as oral anti-inflammatories, rest, lumbar corsets or physical therapy. Facet injections can also provide the physician with diagnostic information. These injections can provide relief from pain for days or even years, or in some cases, permanently. Injections typically will have a mixture of two medications. One is lidocaine which is an anesthetic similar to what your dentist may have used for dental work. The second medication is cortisone. Cortisone, naturally produced by the body, helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. The effects of lidocaine are immediate but may last only a few hours; the effects of cortisone may take 2-3 days or longer. The overall benefit of spinal injections may vary greatly from person to person and also with individuals repetitively over time. Please note that injections do not reverse arthritis, or change anatomy. As of June 2021, Medicare and most insurances no longer cover the costs for cortisone (steroid) injections into the facet joints. Alternatively, Facet Joint RFA is the preferred treatment and is covered by most insurers.
Preparing For Facet Injection:
- Do not eat a large breakfast or meal.
- If you are on routine medications for heart and blood pressure, you can take your medication, as usual, the morning of the injection.
- Most Facet Injections are done in a series of three about every 2-4 weeks.
How Long Will The Facet Injection Take?
The procedure itself only takes about 10 minutes, however, you will need to plan for 1-2 hours from start to finish.
What Happens During Facet Injection?
At the time of your facet block or injection, you will be asked to:
- Sign a consent form, fill out information about your pain and short history.
- If you wear loose clothing, changing into a gown is not required.
- A nurse will check your vital signs, ask what medications you are currently taking, and ask you if you are allergic to any medications.
In the x-ray room, the physician will cleanse the area with an antiseptic solution and numb the area. With the assistance of a C-arm fluoroscope, the physician will direct needles through the skin and into the facet joints. A mixture of anesthetic and cortisone is injected into the joints. After your facet block, you will return to the recovery room for 30 minutes for observation. During this time, the nurse will monitor vital signs and your general well-being. It is important that you have someone drive you home after you had facet injections. We recommend a “lazy day” for the rest of the day.
13710 Olive Boulevard (Primary Office)
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Telephone: 314-469-PAIN (7246)
Exchange: 314-441-6965 (for after-hour Emergencies Only)
Monday thru Friday
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM