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Understanding Medial Branch Neurotomy

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Relax at home for the rest of the day after your treatment, even if you feel good.

The treatment is done in a hospital or surgery center. You’ll be asked to fill out some forms, including a consent form. You may also be examined. You may be given an IV for fluids and medicines.

Getting ready for your procedure

  • Ask your healthcare provider whether you should stop taking any medicines before the procedure.

  • Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or allergic to any medicines.

  • Stop eating or drinking 8 hours before you check in for your treatment.

During the procedure

You will lie on an exam table on your belly or side, depending on where the problem joint is. Medicine may be given through the IV to help you relax. During the procedure:

  • The skin over the treatment site is cleaned and then numbed with medicine.

  • X-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) is used to help your healthcare provider see the spine and guide the treatment.

  • During the procedure, your healthcare provider will check to make sure the needles are in the optimal locations. This may involve twitching of your muscles, and changes in sensation (tingling or pressure). Your healthcare provider may ask for your participation to gain feedback on what you are feeling.

  • Heat or cold is used to destroy part of the nerve near the inflamed facet joint.

After the procedure

Usually, you can go home in about an hour. Have an adult friend or relative drive you. When the anesthetic wears off, your back may feel more sore than usual. This is normal. Take it easy for the rest of the day. If you notice increased pain or injection site soreness, you can apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 10-15 minutes a few times a day. Keep the injection area clean and dry. Don’t apply any ointments, creams, or patches over the injection site. Stay away from soaking in a bathtub or pool for the first 48 hours. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to work.

Possible risks and complications

  • Spinal headache

  • Worsening degeneration of the spinal discs

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Worsening pain

  • Paralysis

  • Nerve damage

  • Allergic reaction

  • Death

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • Severe headaches

  • Fever over 101.0°F (38.3 °C)

  • Chills

  • Redness or drainage at the injection site

  • Weakness in your arms or legs

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 10/1/2018
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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