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Facet Joint Injection is a steroid injection used to treat a major type of back pain usually caused by damage to the facet joints that link the bones in your back together or due to deterioration.

Why you might need it

You may be experiencing back pain that is impacting your quality of life or everyday activities. Your spine is made of a column of bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are joined together by small facet joints and ‘spongy’ discs that sit in between your vertebrae.

The facet joints help to stabilise your spine. Facet back pain can be caused by deterioration or damage to the facet joints as a result from sitting for long periods of time, perhaps due to an office job, or through playing a sport.

The facet joints can then become inflamed and subsequently result in back pain. Whilst you are more likely to develop back pain as you get older, young people can also experience facet joint back pain.

A Facet Joint Injection involves a combination of anaesthetic and steroid. The local anaesthetic will block the way nerves carry pain signals to your brain and therefore providing relief from the injection, whilst the steroid will reduce inflammation in the joints.

Your Consultation

You will have a consultation with a consultant, during which you can discuss your symptoms, your medical history and ask any questions that you may have. Your consultant will discuss the procedure with you so you know exactly what to expect.

Your consultant may also discuss if any further diagnostic tests may be needed, such as a blood test or scan, with you.

We understand that this can be a daunting time so our friendly and caring team will be sure to put you at rest and make your experience with us, as comfortable as possible.

The Procedure

A Facet Joint Injection procedure usually takes 30 minutes and is performed under local anaesthetic, meaning you will be awake during the procedure but the area being injected will be numbed.

A cannula (a small, very fine needle with a port to administer medicine) will be inserted into the back of your hand and attached to an IV line/drip, so if needed, we can administer drugs easily & quickly if you begin to feel unwell.

You will lie on your stomach and the site of injection will be cleaned and a local anaesthetic to numb the area will be injected. Once the area is numb, a needle will be inserted, through which the joint injection anaesthetic/steroid will be given.

We will inject a special dye (a colourless solution that can be detected by an X-Ray machine) and X-Ray the area to confirm the needle is in the correct place. You feel some pressure during this, but should not feel any pain, and we will checking in with you along each step of the procedure to make sure you are as comfortable as you can be.

Finally, a mix of local anaesthetic and steroid will be administered into the joint through the needle.

Our dedicated team will still be there for you during each step of your recovery, even once you have left the hospital if you have any queries or concerns. Our consultants will usually book a follow-up appointment with you before you are discharged from hospital, to see how you are doing.

Whilst it is rare occurrence, surgery does carry a risk of complications. These depend on the type of operation you have as well as a variety of other factors such as your overall general health. During your consultation/s your consultant will discuss the possible risks and complications of having this procedure, and how they may apply to you, and answer any concerns or questions you have.

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