Facet Joint Injections

The Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey provides comprehensive treatment plans by the most highly skilled Orthopedic Spine specialists.

What is a Facet Joint Injection?

The facet joints are very important because they move the spine. Like all joints, facet joints are covered in smooth cartilage that allows adjacent bones to move smoothly and easily. Osteoarthritis damages facet joint cartilage and causes inflammation and pain. Severe facet joint osteoarthritis can cause nerve compression and bone-on-bone rubbing. The key to effective facet joint osteoarthritis treatment is an early diagnosis. Nonsurgical and minimally invasive treatment options quickly decrease symptoms.

A facet joint injection is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure performed under oral sedation. The patient lies face down on a comfortable table with a special rest area for the head and neck. Procedure steps are:

  • A local anesthetic numbs the surgical area
  • A needle is guided into the osteoarthritic facet joint
  • Corticosteroid and anesthetic medications are injected into the joint

Only a very tiny needle mark is made during the quick 15-30 minute procedure. Symptom relief occurs very quickly, if not immediately. Patients return home shortly after their procedure and can return to work and normal activities the day after.

What Condition Does a Facet Joint Injection Treat?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that destroys joint soft tissue and cartilage. Vertebral osteoarthritis is especially problematic because the spine is the body’s main support structure. Vertebral osteoarthritis occurs in the facet joints and may cause:

  • Decreased range of motion
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Weakness

These symptoms may be experienced in the spine and/or extremities. Receiving an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward symptom relief. Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey (OICJ) board-certified and fellowship-trained spine specialist Dr. Nathan Holtzberg is a facet joint osteoarthritis expert. Please do not delay a diagnosis if you are in pain. Contact us today to make your appointment.

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