A facet joint injection procedure usually takes 15 minutes or less. You will be prepared for a facet joint injection by lying face down on an X-ray table. Sedation can be delivered if necessary.
The injection site is cleaned thoroughly before the injection, to cut the risk of infection. A local anesthetic is then applied to numb the area.
Then, a fluoroscopic dye is injected so that your doctor can track the path of the needle using an X-ray. Once the needle is in the correct position, the medication is injected. The medication can be a steroid, a painkiller, or both.
While the procedure usually takes under 15 minutes, you may stay longer so that any potential side effects can be monitored.
Facet joint injections are considered a minimally invasive, low risk procedure. While complications are usually not severe and are not common, they can include bleeding from the injection site, headaches, and infection at the injection site. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site. This typically resolves within a week. Applying ice to the area for around 15 minutes at a time for the first couple of days after your procedure can significantly reduce soreness.