The medial branch block procedure is used to diagnose the cause of patients’ back/neck pain. It is not intended to treat the actual condition and it may lead to other procedures such as a radio frequency ablation (also known as medial branch neurotomy or facet rhizomoty) to produce long-term pain relief for the patient. The medial branch nerves, which are small nerves that carry signals to and from the facet joints, are injected with an anesthetic to block pain sensations. Once the affected nerve is “blocked,” the physician can determine which joints are the major cause of the patient’s symptoms.
What are the side effects or risks associated with a medial branch block?
Generally, a medial branch block is a safe and effective treatment. As with any minimally invasive medical procedure, there are risks, side effects and possible complications that you’ll want to discuss with your SpineOne physician before treatment is administered. The potential side effects of a medial branch block are uncommon and may include:
Soreness and bruising where the needle was injected
Potential infection at the injection point
Allergic reaction to the contrast dye or steroid
Pain for a temporary time
What is injected in the medial branch nerves?
A local anesthetic like lidocaine or bupivacaine may typically be used. Corticosteriod may or may not be used in this procedure depending on physician preference.
Is there any reason not to have this procedure?
Your physician will not prescribe this procedure unless he/she believes it is the best course of action for your wellness. This being said, make sure you tell your physician if you have any types of allergies (especially to any steroids or anesthetics); are on blood-thinning medication; or have an active infection as you get closer to the scheduled day.
Can I go to work the next day?
Unless there were complications because of the procedure, you should return to work the next day. You may still feel sore from the injection point or if the facet joint was not identified as the source of your back pain.
Location and Hours
8500 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 200
Lone Tree, CO 80124