Medial Branch Facet Block Injections

June 15, 2015 | Solutions

Facet Joints are the joints between the vertebrae and the spine that allow the spine to bend, flex and twist. Medial Branch nerves are smaller nerves within these facets. When Facet Joints are inflamed, Medial Branch nerves send pain signals to the brain.

Medial Branch Block Injections are a minimally-invasive, highly-effective, pain-relieving treatment option for patients suffering from Medial Branch nerve or Facet Joint pain. In fact, more than 68 percent of all patients who received Medial Branch injections report significant pain relief, even several months after the procedure.

Medial Branch Block Injections function as both a diagnostic and a treatment for pain. The procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete, and most patients experience immediate results.

What to expect during a Medial Branch Facet Block Injection

The patient lies, comfortably prone, on his or her stomach. Dr. Skaliy administers a local anesthetic to numb the skin around the joint suspected of causing the patient’s pain.

Once the area is numb, a contrast dye is injected. The purpose of the dye is to allow Dr. Skaliy to view the painful area using a specialized camera called a fluoroscope. Using the fluoroscope, Dr. Skaliy can precisely place the injection where it will be of maximum benefit to the patient.

This tool also reduces potential risks associated with this procedure. While the risks are considered very low, patients are encouraged to address any questions about potential risks to Dr. Skaliy during your appointment.

When Dr. Skaliy has confirmed the injection needle is in the correct location, he attaches a syringe containing the anesthetic medication. The medication is then injected around the Medial Branch nerves in order to “block” the pain signals being sent to the brain.

The initial anesthetic injection will temporarily block sensation in these nerves. If this temporary injection relieves the patient’s pain, Dr. Skaliy will inject a longer-lasting anesthetic into the area around the Medial Branch nerves.

If the initial injection does not relieve the pain, Dr. Skaliy will perform the same temporary procedure on adjacent Facet Joints to identify the source of the patient’s pain. When the joint causing the pain is identified, Dr. Skaliy will inject a more long-term pain-relieving medication into this area.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Once the Medial Branch Block has established the location of the patient’s pain, Dr. Skaliy may recommend Radiofrequency Ablation for more long-term pain relief. This procedure is designed to interrupt the pain signal to the brain while preserving muscle strength and customary sensations.

  • The procedure begins with IV sedation
  • Anesthetic is applied to a small area of the skin
  • Using the fluoroscope, Dr. Skaliy places the Radiofrequency needle along the Medial Branch nerve
  • The targeted nerves are numbed, and Radiofrequency waves are introduced
  • Heat is used to disrupt the nerve’s pain transmission
  • The process may be repeated as necessary

Thanks to the minimally-invasive nature of both Medial Branch Blocks and Radiofrequency Ablation, as well as the immediate relief of symptoms, patients may resume their normal daily activities the very next day.

To learn more about how Medial Block Injections can benefit you, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Skaliy, or fill out the appointment form below to schedule your visit with Dr. Skaliy today.


About the Author

Dr. Michael Skaliy

Throughout his career Dr. Michael Skaliy has felt that medicine is a rapidly changing field and he’s continued to stay up to date to bring the latest cutting edge therapies into his practice. Most recently, he introduced stem cell therapy and minimally invasive same day spine surgery, which is done through a small device the size of a pencil.

Subscribe to our Blog Posts

If I Have Degenerative Disc Disease, What Are My Risks?

  Do you have a stiff back when you get out of bed in the morning? Sharp pain when you try to stand up? Do you feel a dull ache when you bend at the waist, or occasional "pins and needles"...


Has Stem Cell Therapy Really Been Proven?

Recently, a prospective patient contacted our office with a very important question that gets to the heart of what many people wonder about Regenerative Medicine. This person asked: "Is stem cell really proven?"


Is a problem with my neck causing shoulder pain?

Discover how cervical spine injuries can lead to pain and numbness in your shoulders, arms and hands. Have you ever tried to reach over your head only to feel a sharp, stinging pain shoot from your shoulder into your arm? When...


Free Ebook!

Back Pain Relief - Atlanta Spine Specialists