Division of Neuroradiology
Contact Information

Barbara Wilson
Diagnostic Imaging
The Ottawa Hospital
General Campus
Room S2, Box 232
501 Smyth Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1H 8L6 Canada

Tel: 613-737-8571
Fax: 613-737-8830

bawilson@toh.on.ca

Facet Joint Injections - Learn More

What is a facet joint?

In addition to the intervertebral disks that are located between adjacent vertebrae, there are also small joints that are responsible for maintaining the mechanical stability of the spine. Between two vertebrae there are two facet joints, one on the left and one on the right side.

Why is a facet joint injection performed?

A facet joint injection is performed to relieve back pain. The facet joints may undergo degenerative changes and may become a source of lower back pain. In some patients, this pain can be relieved by the injection of a steroidal medication combined with local anaesthetic agent.

How is the procedure performed?

Local anaesthetic is initially given to minimize the discomfort associated with the procedure. The facet joint injection is then performed using X-ray (fluoroscopic) guidance to precisely insert a needle into the joint space. Once the needle is in a satisfactory position, a mixture containing a steroidal medication and local anaesthetic is administered.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

No special preparation is required. However, you will have to tell the radiology booking clerk if you are allergic to radiographic dye, local anaesthetic or to steroidal medication.

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Last updated: 2015.09.08