A medial branch block Is a direct and non-invasive method of treating and diagnosing pain that
originates in the facet joint in the spine. At the start of the procedure the patient
lays down on their belly on the x-ray table.
If the patient is sedated the vital signs are closely monitored. The skin in the side
of injection is cleaned in the sterile fashion, and a numbing medicine is used to anesthetize
the skin. The needles are placed with x-ray guidance down to the place where the medial
branch nerves live.
The anesthetic medicine is then injected carefully through each needle in each one of those medial
branch nerves and then anesthetize. After the procedure the needles are removed and
the patient moves around typically extending their spine they can tell almost immediately
if they pain feels better.
If their pain feels better then we decide yes the joints are affected and that’s when
we consider a procedure called radiofrequency ablation, which is a much much longer lasting
version of this procedure.
After the procedure typically a patient goes to recovery area, they are monitored for about
30 minutes before being discharged home. Most patients experience some relief or instant
relief with this procedure. Oftentimes the relief will last just the duration of the
local anesthetic, sometimes it will last for days or even weeks.