Facet joint blockade therapy

Facet joint blockade therapy is an approved, low-risk examination procedure for the treatment of complaints like pain, paraesthesia or numbness, which originate from an arthrosis (wear) of the small backbone joints. You should be aware of the process and the typical risks of such a therapy to decide whether or not to proceed. The education form is designed to give you an overview about the procedure of sclerotherapy.

How is the facet joint blockade therapy carried out
The patient will be positioned according to the area of the body to be treated. In supine position (for treatment of the cervical spine) or in abdominal position (for treatment of the thoracic or lumbar spine). After examination of the punctuation spot with the computer tomograph it will be anaesthetised. Then a thin needle will be positioned near the facet joint. The position of the needle and the distribution of the medication can be checked in the CT scanner through a dilution with water and a small amount of contrast medium. Afterwards the medication is injected (containing 4-8ml local anaesthetic and up to 40mg cortisone crystal suspension). After the injection of the medicine the needle will be removed.

The treatment is now done. It can be repeated, if required, multiple times at an interval of several days.

What should the patient be mindful of after the facet joint blockade therapy?
The local anaesthetic can cause a feeling of weakness in arms or legs. Patients should therefore remain in the surgery for an hour after treatment. They should not drive and it is recommended to have a friend or family to collect you from the clinic.

If you feel unwell or suffer intense pain after the treatment (e.g. dizziness, nausea, vomiting) occurs, please inform the doctor immediately.

Which risks have to be taken into account?
The facet joint blockade therapy is low-risk and is virtually free from side effects, but in extremely rare cases it can lead to complications

To name but a few

  • Bruising in the injection area is very rare.
  • The pain is intensified after the first or second treatment session. This is extremely rare but if this happens, inform your doctor immediately.
  • The medicine causes allergic reactions. Serious problems are very unusual. (e.g. flushes, itches, breathing trouble, cardiovascular problems In extreme cases these can be life threatening.)
  • An impairment of the nerves through the needle or medicine can occur
  • In women,it can lead to intermenstrual bleeding or abnormal oestrous cycle