Prof. Dr. Erkan Kaptanoğlu

Facet Joint Injection

The facet joint is formed in the posterior lateral part of the spine between the facet joint surfaces of the two vertebrae, right and left. Age-related degeneration and weight-bearing, trauma and facet joint fractures can cause facet joint pain. These pains are more common after prolonged immobilization or when bending backwards.


Facet joint degeneration can be seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The clinic and examination of the patients should also be consistent with this diagnosis. The bone structures of the facet joints should also be evaluated in these patients. Computed tomography (CT) imaging may also be required for this.


Patients with facet joint degeneration may be treated with analgesics, physical therapy and rest. The aim of a facet joint injection is to administer local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication into the joint space or around the nerves innervating the facet joint. The medication serves both to reduce edema and to relieve pain. The pain is expected to go away for a certain period of time or permanently.

Radiofrequency can be also used to perform facet blocks. This is based on the principle that a probe tip generates heat between 40 and 80 °C with radio waves to produce an analgesic effect (pain relief). The efficacy of the treatment is based on the destruction of the nerve around the facet and pain relief.

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