Each facet joint in our spine is supplied with a nerve called the medial branch of the primary dorsal ramus. These nerves help send pain signals from the facet joints to the brain.  In some cases, an injection in the region of the medial branch nerve can provide relief of chronic facet pain. A medial branch block is an injection using local anesthetic into the nerve supplying the facet joint.

Prior to a medial branch block, the injection site is prepped in a sterile fashion and local anesthetic is administered.  A small gauge spinal needle is then advanced into the region of the medial branch nerve under x-ray guidance. Once confirmed with x-ray, the medial branch nerve is bathed with an anesthetic.

The surgical site is then wiped clean and a Band-Aid is applied.  The patient is placed in a comfortable post procedure area and monitored for a short time. The patient is then released to go home with post procedure instructions.

If the patient receives several days of relief from a medial branch block, it is often an indication that they will greatly benefit from a radio frequency ablation.