FACET/NERVE BLOCK INJECTION
Facet/Nerve Block Injection

A nerve block is an anaesthetic or anti-inflammatory injection targeted towards a certain nerve or group of nerves to treat pain. The purpose of the injection is to “deactivate” a pain signal coming from a specific location in the body or to decrease inflammation in that area.

Image guidance, such as fluoroscopy or computed tomography (CT scan), may be used to help the doctor place the needle in the exact location so that the patient can receive maximum benefit from the injection.

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Procedure Overview
  • No special preparation is usually required. The radiologist/referring physician will explain the procedure and consent is obtained before the procedure. Try to bring your most recent MRI with you.
  • You will be asked to change to an x-ray gown so that metallic objects such as zippers and buttons do not obstruct the visualisation of the area of interest.
  • You will be positioned on a table or other surface to allow the doctor an access to the injection site. The doctor will then identify the spot, using palpation and/or imaging guidance. They will clean the area with antiseptic solution, and then the needle will be inserted at a specific depth to deliver the medication as close to the problematic nerve(s) as possible. The radiologist may then inject several drops of contrast dye to confirm the position of the needle. A small mixture of local anaesthetic and steroid is then slowly injected.
  • More than one injection may be required, depending on how many areas of pain you have or how large an area needs to be covered. The doctor will most likely tell you when he or she inserts the needle and when the injection is done.
  • When finished, you will be allowed to rest for up to half hour to let the medication take effect. The nurse will also make sure you don’t have any unexpected side effects before you leave the department.
Benefits and Risks

BENEFITS

  • Temporary pain relief
  • Temporary reduction of inflammation in the region of the spine causing pain
  • May help the doctor identify a more specific cause of pain
  • Better ability to function in daily life without the restrictions previously caused by pain

RISKS

  • Infection at the injection site
  • Bleeding
  • Accidental delivery of medication into the blood stream
  • Unexpected spread of medication to other nerves
  • Hitting the “wrong” nerve in an attempt to block the targeted nerve, if the nerves are close together

Women should always inform their physician and radiographer if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the foetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.

Facet/Nerve Block Injection is available at:

Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital

38 Irrawady Road, Level 2,
Singapore 329563
(65) 6933 1188
Fax: (65) 6933 0526

Radiology Department,
Mount Elizabeth Hospital

3 Mount Elizabeth, Level 2
Singapore 228510
(65) 6731 2100
Fax: (65) 6731 3368

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