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What is a facet joint?

Your spine is made up of a column of bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are joined together by small facet joints and spongy discs that sit between your vertebrae. Facet joints help to stabilise your spine.

As you get older wear and tear (osteoarthritis) in your facet joints can cause pain. Often the pain is in another area of your body such as your thigh, buttocks or neck. A facet joint injection is a diagnostic tool to help your consultant confirm that your pain is caused by your wear and tear of your facet joints.

What happens during an x-ray guided facet joint injection?

A facet joint injection usually takes less than 30 minutes and is performed using local anaesthetic. A small drip (called a cannula) may be inserted in the back of your hand so that we can give you drugs immediately should you feel unwell. The needle is very fine so you may not feel a thing when it is inserted. A little opening on the cannula allows fluids to be administered from an IV bag.

We will help you get into position for the injection. An antiseptic will be used to clean the area and a local anaesthetic will be injected. Once we confirm the area is numb, your consultant will carefully insert the needle for your injection. They may inject a dye (colourless contrast fluid) and take an x-ray to confirm the needle is in the right position. Sometimes an ultrasound scanner is used to help guide the needle. Please let us know if you feel any discomfort during the procedure. You may feel some pressure in the injection area or along a nerve. This is usually temporary. We will monitor you carefully during the injection.

Going home after x-ray guided facet joint injection

You should be able to go home shortly after your injection. You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home. You should rest if you feel tired. Do not walk long distances, drive, operate machinery (including cooking) until you have fully recovered feeling, movement and coordination.

You should be able to return to normal daily activities the day after your injection.

Keep a record of your pain levels so that your consultant can plan your pain management programme or follow-up treatment.

Most people make a good recovery from facet joint injections. As with any medical procedure there could be complications including:
  • Failure of the injection to relieve your pain
  • Worsening pain
  • Backache or feeling bruised
  • Allergic reaction to local anaesthetic
Rare complications could include:
Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370919
Overall rating Outstanding
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6SY

01242 246 500
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good
Exeter  

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 262110
Overall rating Good
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good
Ipswich  

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good
Leeds  

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding
Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good
Oxford  

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good
Shrewsbury  

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good
Taunton  

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 436351
Overall rating Good
Wessex  

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good
Woking  

Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY

01483 227800
Overall rating Good
Wolverhampton  

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good

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