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Facet Joint Injection: Your Experience

Facet joint injection is done in a hospital, surgery center, or a healthcare provider's office. You’ll be asked to fill out some forms, including a consent form. You may also be examined.

During the procedure

You may be given medicine to help you relax. You will lie on an exam table on your stomach. During your treatment:

  • The skin over the injection site is cleaned. A medicine (local anesthetic) is used to numb the skin.

  • X-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) may be used to help the healthcare provider see your spine. If so, a contrast dye may be injected into the affected area.

  • The injection is given. It may contain a local anesthetic to numb the region around the joint, medicine that eases inflammation (steroids), or both.

Healthcare provider giving injection in man's back. Man is lying face down on imaging table.

After the procedure

Most often, you can go home shortly after the procedure, generally in about 1 hour. Have an adult friend or relative drive you. The anesthetic wears off in a few hours. When it does, your back or neck may feel more sore than usual. This is normal. Take it easy for the rest of the day. The steroids most often start to work in a few days. Your provider can tell you when it’s OK to go back to work.

Risks and complications

Risks and complications are rare but can include:

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Prolonged increase in pain

  • Nerve damage (very rare)

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your provider if you have any of these:

  • Severe headaches

  • Fever over 100.4°F ( 38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Chills

  • Redness or drainage at the injection site

  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness in your arms or legs

Online Medical Reviewer: Jimmy Moe MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ronald Karlin MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2021
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