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Medial Branch Block & Radiofrequency
Ablation

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Understanding Facet Joint Pain

Facet joints are small joints located between adjacent vertebrae in the spine and are responsible for providing stability and facilitating movement. When these joints become inflamed or irritated, they can cause localized pain known as facet joint pain. This pain typically manifests as dull, achy discomfort in the neck, upper back, or lower back, and may worsen with certain movements or activities.

What are Medial Branch Blocks (MBBs)?

Medial Branch Blocks (MBBs) are diagnostic injections used to identify and temporarily alleviate facet joint pain. During an MBB, a small amount of local anesthetic is injected near the medial branch nerves that supply sensation to the affected facet joint(s). If the injection successfully blocks pain signals from reaching the brain and provides significant pain relief, it confirms that the facet joint(s) are the source of the pain.

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How Do Medial Branch Blocks Lead to Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)?

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If Medial Branch Blocks confirm facet joint pain as the source of your discomfort, Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) may be recommended as a longer-term solution. RFA involves using heat generated by radiofrequency energy to temporarily disrupt the function of the medial branch nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals from the affected facet joint(s) to the brain.

 

By impairing the nerves' ability to transmit pain signals,

RFA can provide lasting pain relief for several months to years.

What to Expect During Medial Branch Blocks and Radiofrequency Ablation Procedures:

During both Medial Branch Blocks and Radiofrequency Ablation procedures, you'll be positioned comfortably on an examination table, and the area to be treated will be cleaned and sterilized. Local anesthetic may be used to numb the skin and underlying tissues to minimize discomfort during the procedure. Fluoroscopy (live X-ray) guidance will be employed to ensure precise needle placement.

  • How Do I Know If I’m a Candidate for Intracept®?
    The Intracept® Procedure is indicated for patients who have had: Chronic low back pain for at least six months, Who have tried conservative care for at least six months and whose MRI shows features consistent with Modic changes – indicating damage at the vertebral endplates has led to inflammation. The Intracept Procedure, as with any procedure, has risks that should be discussed between the patient and medical provider.
  • How Long Does Pain Relief Last following the Intracept® Procedure?
    Most people start to feel pain relief within 2 weeks after the procedure. Clinical evidence demonstrates the majority of patients experience significant improvements in function and pain 3-months post procedure that are sustained more than 5 years after a single treatment.
  • Is the Intracept® Procedure painful?
    Some patients experience 2-3 days of soreness after the procedure, but overall it is very well tolerated and most patients return to normal activities 24 hours later.
  • What should I expect after the procedure?
    Most patients report at least 50% improvement of their chronic, vertebrogenic low back pain at 2 weeks after the procedure.

Get Relief From Trusted Experts.

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