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Image-guided facet joint injection

By WCG Peh


Chronic spine pain poses a peculiar diagnostic and therapeutic challenge due to multiple pain sources, overlapping clinical features and nonspecific radiological findings. Facet joint injection is an interventional pain management tool for facet-related spinal pain that can be effectively administered by a radiologist. This technique is the gold standard for identifying facet joints as the source of spinal pain. The major indications for facet injections include strong clinical suspicion of the facet syndrome, focal tenderness over the facet joints, low back pain with normal radiological findings, post-laminectomy syndrome with no evidence of arachnoiditis or recurrent disc disease, and persistent low back pain after spinal fusion. The contraindications are more ancillary, with none being absolute. Like any synovial joint degeneration, inflammation and injury can lead to pain on motion, initiating a vicious cycle of physical deconditioning, irritation of facet innervations and muscle spasm. Image-guided injection of local anesthetic and steroid into or around the facet joint aims to break this vicious cycle and thereby provide pain relief. This outpatient procedure has high diagnostic accuracy, safety and reproducibility but the therapeutic outcome is variable

Topics: Review Article
Publisher: Department of Biomedical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Malaysia
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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