Facet Block/Injection Patient Information

Your doctor has recommended you for either a selective nerve root or a facet block. A facet is a joint, or connection between two of the bones in your back. The block works by injecting a pain-relieving medication at the source of the pain, a facet or a nerve. Franklin Moser, MD, Director of Neuroradiology, heads our team of imaging physicians, nurses and technologists who specialize in these procedures.

Before Arriving for Your Exam

  • You will not be allowed to drive after the procedure, so you should arrange for someone to help you get home.
  • We want to make your waiting time as pleasant as possible. Consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass the time.
  • Please wear comfortable clothing and leave your valuables at home.
  • Directions and Parking Information

After Arriving

  • A physician specialist in interventional radiology will discuss your procedure with you and answer any questions you might have.
  • After this discussion, you will be asked to sign a consent form, giving us permission to perform the test.
  • You must tell the technologist, nurse, or physician of any allergies you may have, and whether you are or might be pregnant.

During Your Exam

  • You will need to change into a hospital gown.
  • You will lay on your stomach on an X-ray table, and blood-pressure and blood-oxygen monitors might be placed on you.
  • Your back will be cleaned, and a local anesthetic will be used to numb an area of skin where the injection will take place.
  • A fluoroscope (a form of X-ray) will be taken. This will allow the imaging physician to see exactly where the injection needs to be placed.
  • With the needle properly situated, the physician will inject the pain medication and usually a steroid.
  • You will be asked if your usual pain has lessened.
  • If more than one nerve or facet is being injected, this process might be repeated.
  • The nerve or facet block procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.

After Your Exam

  • You will be asked about any reduction in your pain and whether you can do some motions that would have been painful to you before the block.
  • You might experience some numbness or tingling in your legs, arms or the surface of your chest. This is common and should go away within a few hours.
  • Do not do any strenuous activity for 24 hours.
  • If the site of the injection is painful, you can treat it with ice or a pain medication as prescribed by your physician.
  • Your back pain might return after the injected pain medication has worn off. The steroid injection takes seven to 10 days to start relieving your pain.