What is a Medial Branch Block?
A medial branch block is a procedure used to interrupt the nerves that supply the facet joints. Facet joints are small joints along your spine that, if inflamed, can become a source of pain. The medial nerve then carries a pain signal from the facet joint to the brain. A medial branch block stops this signal, and therefore, relieves pain for the patient.
Medial Branch Block Procedure
This is a quick, outpatient procedure that requires little to no recovery time. To begin, the patient will be in a lying position. The treatment area is cleaned, and a local anesthetic may be used to help ease discomfort. During the procedure, steroid and anesthetic is injected into the medial branch nerves. The doctor will use fluoroscopy (x-ray) guidance to ensure the needle positioning correct. Upon completion, there will be a short in-office recovery period in which the patient will be monitored.
How long post-procedure will the medial branch block take effect?
The patient will likely feel immediate pain relief from the local anesthetic. Once this wears off, total pain relief from the injection can be expected in the following days. It is important to note that the patient may experience no pain relief if the medial nerve targeted was not connected to a symptomatic facet joint.