Medial Branch Block / Medial Branch Nerve Injections

What is it?

An injection that is performed to confirm that a specific nerve branch is responsible for pain experienced in the facet joint area. It is often done as a precursor to Radio-Frequency Neurotomy. Usually a series of two Medial Branch Blocks are done using two different anesthetic agents.

How is it done?

An I.V. will be started in your hand or arm. A local skin anesthetic is given. A needle is then inserted using Fluoroscopy (x-ray) down to the medial branch nerve(s) supplying the facet joint or facet capsule. An anesthetic is then injected onto the medial branch nerve.

Expected results:

A decrease in, or relief of, pain. A specific pain diary needs to be kept for the first 48 hours following the injection.

How long does it take?

Thirty minutes plus approximately thirty minutes recovery time. Please take your usual medications with a small sip of water unless otherwise instructed.

Risks involved:

Risks include increased pain, headache, bleeding, infection, a reaction to any medications used, nerve damage, paraplegia/quadriplegia, or death.

 

  • YOU WILL NEED SOMEONE TO DRIVE YOU TO AND FROM THE SURGICAL CENTER
  • NO FOOD OR DRINK FOR 6-HOURS PRIOR TO THE SCHEDULED TIME OF YOUR INJECTION
  • HOLD ASPIRIN FOR 7 DAYS AND HOLD NSAID’S (Naproxen, Ibuprofen) FOR 3 DAYS PRIOR TO INJECTION.
  • FOR BLOOD THINNERS (Coumadin, Heparin, Plavix) SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR FOR SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS.

Patient Instructions:

  • No driving for the rest of the day.
  • Apply ice to the area every 15 minutes as needed.
  • Continue exercises and stretches as before and as tolerated by pain.
  • Drink extra fluids for the next 24 hours.
  • Take pain medication if needed as prescribed.
  • Monitor your level of pain or pain relief from the time the injection is completed.
  • Guard the affected area if numbness is present.
  • Follow up as directed
  • IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS, PLEASE CALL 303-423-8334

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