In this outpatient procedure, the physician uses a fluoroscope and guides the placement of the medication to avoid hitting any nerves. The patient will be in the facedown position on the procedure table and injected with a local anesthetic easing discomfort during the procedure.
As the physician directs the needle into the appropriate facet joint, a small amount of contrast dye will be injected to ensure the needle placement is correct. Medication is injected into the joint, and the physician then removes the needle. A bandage is placed over the injection site. Following a short period of observation, the patient will be released to rest at home. The procedure usually takes between 15-30 minutes to be completed.
After returning home, the patient is advised to rest and avoid strenuous activities. Some patients notice immediate pain relief following the procedure only to have it return as the effect of the local anesthetic diminishes. It typically takes a few days for the steroid medication to take effect. Pain or soreness at the injection site can be treated with ice or a cold pack to relieve discomfort.