Cervical Facet Block
What you should know
A cervical facet block is a procedure to inject medicine at the facet joints in your cervical (neck) spine. Facet joints are found at the back of each vertebrae (bones).
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
You may have bleeding at the site of the injection. You may also develop an infection. Nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles, and bones near your spine may be damaged. The medicine may spread past the facet joint and cause numbness in other areas. You may have trouble breathing. Even after you have this procedure, you may still have shoulder or back pain. Without this procedure, your symptoms will continue and may get worse.
The week before your procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need to have blood and urine tests. Imaging tests, such as x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI, may also be done. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your procedure:
- You may be given a pill to help you sleep.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your procedure:
- Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring all the medicines you are taking, including the pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
What will happen:
You will be asked to lie on your stomach, with your head and body slightly turned to the side. Local anesthesia will be given to help control pain during the procedure. A thin needle will be inserted near your cervical spine and into the facet joint. Your caregiver will use an x-ray with dye or a CT scan to help guide the needle. He will place the needle tip inside or just outside the facet joint and inject the medicine. The medicine may include steroids and anesthesia. Your caregiver may inject medicine into more than one problem area. Bandages are placed over the areas where the needles were inserted.
After your procedure:
You will be taken to a recovery room to rest. Caregivers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When caregivers see that you are okay, you may be allowed to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will taken to your room. The bandages keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A caregiver may remove the bandages soon after your procedure to check the injection sites.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your procedure.
- You have a fever.
- You have a skin infection or an infected wound on or near the back of your neck.
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure.
Seek Care Immediately if
- The problems for which you are having the procedure get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.