Facet joint infiltration - Frequently asked questions

What is facet joint infiltration?

Facet joint infiltration is a recognised and very reliable method of minimally-invasive spine pain therapy.

When should facet joint infiltration be performed?

Facet joint infiltration is a local pain therapy and should be used in the case of pain syndromes which are definitely caused by the irritation of the small vertebral joints.

These include:

  • Facet joint arthroses - these are the most frequent cause of easily locatable back pains.
  • Inflammations of the small vertebral joints which occur in the course of arthroses and also chronically inflammatory diseases (e.g. rheumatism).

What must be borne in mind for facet joint infiltration?

Medicines which thin the blood (ASS, Aspirin, Heparin) must be discontinued for c. 7 days before the examination.

MR arthrography may only be performed on patients undergoing marcumar therapy after they have switched to heparin or have a Quick value of >50%.

How does facet joint infiltration work?

In order to treat the pain specifically at the joint, a special (extremely thin) needle is placed, under screen control, in the immediate vicinity of the joint. Another CT scan of the area is used to ensure that the needle is in the correct position. Only when the needle is in the correct position are Bucain (0.25%) and Volon A administered.

Bucain 0.25% (active ingredient Bupivacain 0.25%) is a local analgesic which has for years been used routinely to treat acute pain.

Volon A (active ingredient: Triamcinolon) is a cortisone preparation which is fixed to extremely small crystals for the purpose of long-term anti-inflammatory therapy.
The pharmacological structure of the medicine ensures that it has a great local effect at the location of the injection with minimal systemic side-effects.

How long is facet joint infiltration effective?

No definite statement can be made regarding the duration of the success of facet joint infiltration. When correctly indicated (decision whether facet joint infiltration is the correct method for pain therapy), long-term success can be achieved after the very first injection. Often the therapy must be repeated at intervals of 3-4 weeks.

How often can facet joint infiltration be performed?

The frequency of facet joint infiltration is dictated primarily by its success. If a patient is free of pain after the first injection, no further injections are made.

If the therapy does not prove to be successful in the long term, facet joint infiltration should not be performed more than 5-6 times.

What must be borne in mind after facet joint infiltration?

After facet joint infiltration has been performed, the patient can resume their usual activities.

Facet joint infiltration

Facet joint infiltration

Frequently asked questions on the topic of facet joint infiltration

Patient information on facet joint infiltration/PRT (PDF)