The Medial Branch Block procedure consists of placement of an anesthetic and anti-inflammatory (steroid) solution on the medial branch nerves of the facet joint. The purpose of this injection is to determine what facet joint or medial branch nerve is producing the pain. It is also designed to interrupt the pain signal that is being carried by the medial branch nerve. Once determined an anti-inflammatory steroid can be injected to decrease inflammation and irritation caused by the nerves, thereby reducing spinal pain. The procedure may be repeated periodically, if necessary, and is an important part of treating such conditions as chronic spine arthritis, degenerative disc disease and facet syndrome. It can be performed in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar regions. All procedures are done under fluoroscopic guidance (X-ray-guided) to ensure proper placement of the medication and may be performed in an ambulatory surgical center, fluoroscopy suite or hospital setting.
The injection takes only a few minutes but the procedure can take up to 30 minutes.