Are facet joint injections permanent?

A facet joint injection is a diagnostic procedure that involves injecting anesthesia and cortisone into the joint. These injections are done to confirm that the joint is the source of the pain. In addition to providing diagnostic information, some patients (10 to 20%) will get long-term relief for 3 months. If the procedure provides significant relief while anesthesia or cortisone lasts, patients will be considered candidates for medial branch blockage and, possibly, radiofrequency neurotomy.

The skin becomes numb and the doctor uses a needle guided by a fluoroscope to place it close to the facet joint. Sometimes, injections can cause increased facet joint pain for the first few days before relief finally occurs. Injecting into the facet joint reduces pain in the small joints at the back of the spine, between the vertebrae. If the injection does not relieve pain, it may be because the injection did not reach the source of the pain or because the pain is not caused by facet joints.

The medicinal anesthetic and corticosteroid cocktail used in an injection into the facet joint provides double relief. A facet joint injection is a procedure in which analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications are injected into facet joints to reduce pain. Facet joint injections have been shown to be effective in relieving facet joint pain in many patients. Facet joints are a pair of small joints located at the back of the spine, between each of the vertebrae.

If the medication is injected directly into the joint, the procedure is called facet intra-articular injection or simply injection into the facet joint. Facet joints are similar to other joints in the body and are equally susceptible to injury or wear and tear, such as arthritis, infections or impact trauma. It is important to note that the pain relief provided by facet joint injections is usually not permanent and may require ongoing treatment depending on the results of the first injection. Facet joint injections contain anti-inflammatory steroids and often also a local anesthetic.

It involves injecting medications close to the branches of the medial nerves, which supply sensory information to facet joints. Using a fluoroscopy, the radiologist will insert a small needle into the corresponding facet spinal joint.

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