Cervical Medial Branch Block

Medial branch blocks are diagnostic tests used to help verify, or rule out, a facet joint as a source of pain. 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. The block is placed in much the same location as a facet joint injection. This can help confirm the joint is the cause of the patient’s pain and leads to neurotomy procedures for chronic pain relief.

Before the Procedure

  • 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.

During the Procedure

  • 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.

After the Procedure

  • 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.