What is it?
A medial branch block interrupts the sensory nerve supply to the involved facet joint through the use of a precise administration of an anesthetic agent and steroid. After a local skin anesthetic is applied, the physician uses fluoroscopy (x-ray) guidance to place a needle along the nerves that supply the inflamed joint.
How Long does the Procedure Take?
Medial branch blocks are performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure typically requires 30 minutes, including preparation time. It is followed by 30 minutes of observed recovery time. Medial branch blocks in one area are generally limited to three within a six-month time frame. In many instances, only one or two injections are required to obtain benefit.
What are the Expected Results?
Medial branch blocks have been performed safely for many years with excellent outcomes. The benefit from this procedure will typically occur several minutes following the procedure. The patient is asked to record pain levels during the first days of the procedure to ensure accurate diagnosis of the facet joints as the pain source. If you report more than 50% relief to your pain symptoms, you may be a good candidate for RFA-radiofrequency neurotomy to prolong pain relief for 9-14-month period.