Medial Branch Blocks (MBB) / Facet Joint Injections Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar BACK
Medial Branch Block (MBB) is an injection of local anaesthetic +/- steroid to the nerve supplying the particular facet joint. There is strong evidence behind doing diagnostic MBB and if successful this can be followed with denervation procedure.
A facet joint injection is an injection of local anaesthetic with or without steroid either directly into the joint or around the joint. Depending on the fluoroscopic examination it is common to do several of these injections at one time.
The aim of this injection is to anesthetize the facet joints/ nerves and block the pain.
Facet joints are small joints that link each vertebra together to provide stability and help guide motion. The facet joints can become painful due to arthritis (wear & tear) of the spine, inflammation, a back injury, mechanical stress to the back or previous disc problems. Facet joints occur in pairs along the length of your spine, cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back) or lumbar (lower back) facet joints.
The Lumbar and the Cervical joints most often causes problems. Lumbar facets arthritis can present as back pain, with pain spreading to legs; you may have felt numbness or “pins and needles” in your arms or legs. Similarly cervical facet pain can present as neck pain, headache, shoulder & shoulder blade pain
The pain relief noted by the patient will help confirm or deny the joint as a source of pain. If substantial pain relief is achieved it means those joints are likely to be the source of pain.
Pain Relief (Few months) Time release steroid reduces inflammation which can often provide long term pain relief. Initially for the first few days you can expect an exacerbation of pain and then you will notice the pain relief. It is difficult to quantify the amount of pain relief you will gain. This depends on the severity of pathology and the other co-existing pathologies. This injection can relieve the pain for few weeks/months and the recurring pain may not be as severe as before.
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