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Lumbar Facet Block

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.

What do I need to know about a lumbar facet block?

A lumbar facet block is a procedure used to decrease inflammation in your lower spine. Medicines are injected at facet joints in your lower back. Facet joints are found at the back of each vertebrae.

Vertebral Column

How do I prepare for the procedure?

  • Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure.
  • Tell your provider about all the medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine before the procedure, and when to stop. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.
  • Your provider will also talk to you about your regular pain medicines. He or she may want you to wait a certain amount of time after the procedure before you start them again. This will help him or her see if the facet block worked for you.
  • You may need blood or urine tests before your procedure. You may also need x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious damage. Tell the provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

What will happen during the procedure?

  • You will lie on your stomach, with your body slightly turned to the side. A pillow may be placed under your abdomen, or you may be asked to bend one or both knees.
  • A needle will be inserted into the facet joint in your lower back. Your surgeon may use contrast liquid with an x-ray or CT to help guide the needle. He or she will inject medicines, such as steroids, to decrease inflammation.

What should I expect after the procedure?

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Your provider may have you move the area to see if you still have pain. You may then be able to go home.

What are the risks of a lumbar facet block?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Nerves, blood vessels, or muscles may be damaged. You may have numbness in other areas. You may still have lower back or leg pain.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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