Medial Branch Block
Description of Medial Branch Block
Medial branch refers to the nerves that carry pain signals from the spinal facet joints to the brain. A medial branch block is an injection of chemicals that temporarily block the sending of signals. It is a diagnostic test used to help verify whether a particular facet joint is a source of pain. The block is placed in much the same location as a facet joint injection.
Conditions Treated with Medial Branch Blocks
Medial branch blocks are diagnostic back pain tests used to help verify, or rule out, a facet joint as a source of back pain or neck pain.
What to Expect Before a Medial Branch Block
Once you have decided to have the injection, the following events take place:
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before your injection.
- You can take your regular heart and blood pressure medications on the morning of the injection with a sip of water.
What to Expect During a Medial Branch Block
- You will lie on a table in a procedure room.
- The skin in the area where the injection will be made will be cleaned.
- The skin is numbed with lidocaine.
- Using fluoroscopy (live X-ray) for guidance, the physician directs a needle toward the medial branch nerve near the facet joint.
- The chemicals are injected.
- The injection procedure will take about 30 minutes.
What to Expect After a Medial Branch Block
- You will be in a recovery room for about 30 minutes.
- It is important that you have someone to drive you home.
- It is common to experience an increase in pain once the numbing medicine wears off.
- You will need to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your level of pain relief after the injection.