Medial Branch Block (Cervical)

 

Overview
This is an injection of numbing medicine that bathes the medial branch nerves. These nerves are attached to the facet joints of the spine. Disease or injury of these joints can cause pain in the medial branch nerves. This pain may travel through the neck, shoulders, upper back and head. A medial branch block can help your physician find the source of your pain. It may also provide temporary pain relief.

 

 



Preparation
In preparation for the procedure, the physician
injects local anesthetic. This numbs the skin and
tissue around the level or levels that will be
injected.

Inserting the Needle
Next, the physician pushes a thin needle through
the numbed tissue. The physician uses an x-ray
device called a fluoroscope to see the needle in
your body. The needle is carefully guided toward
the medial branch nerves. Contrast dye is injected
through the needle to confirm that it is positioned
correctly.

Injection
When the needle is in place, the physician injects
numbing medicine onto the nerves. This medicine
temporarily numbs sensation. If this area is the
source of your pain, you will experience immediate
pain relief. More than one level of the spine may
need to be injected.

End of Procedure
When the procedure is complete, you will be
monitored for a brief time and then allowed to go
home. A medial branch block may relieve your pain
for the next few hours. You may be asked to keep
track of your pain level as the medicine wears off. If
the block was successful, your physician may
recommend a procedure called radiofrequency
ablation. This can provide more permanent pain
relief.