Patient Instructions for Facet Joint Injections
You have been scheduled for a ___________________________________________________
Date of procedure: _______________________________ Time: ______________________
Please check into Radiology at UW Hospital fifteen minutes before your scheduled visit.
If you are unable to keep this appointment,
please call the Radiology Clinic at (608) 263-9729
Your doctor has ordered a facet joint
injection to help make your pain less. This
will also help find the cause of your low
back pain. How much relief is felt varies
from patient to patient. You may not feel
any pain relief. Many get a decrease or
clearing of their pain for two weeks to more
than one year.
To Prepare for Your Treatment
You won’t be able to have this treatment if
ξ You have not had an MRI or CT
scan of your spine.
ξ You have an active infection, such as
a cold or sinus infection.
ξ You may be pregnant.
ξ Your current weight is over 450
Please tell our staff if you are taking blood
thinners; such as, Plavix®, Warfarin
(Coumadin®), Xarelto, or Pradaxa.
If you have diabetes, steroids will cause
your blood sugar to increase. Make sure
your primary doctor is aware of your
scheduled injection; and, you have a plan to
keep your blood sugar within your normal
Please bring your pain medicine with you.
You may take it after your treatment, if
You must have someone drive you home
after your treatment, so please plan for
this. Some patients have weakness in their
legs after treatment.
The Day of Your Treatment
Enter the hospital through the clinic entrance
and take the Atrium elevators to the 3rd
floor. Check in at the (G3/3) Radiology
If you have an MRI or CT from another
hospital, you must bring it with you for
the Radiologist to review.
The Radiologist will meet you in a consult
room to explain the risks and benefits of the
procedure. You will have a chance to ask
questions you have before your treatment.
Your treatment will take about 45 minutes.
You will lie on your stomach. A fine needle
will be put into your back to place medicine
into the facet joint of the spine.
Tell your doctor if you have diabetes or
After Your Treatment
Serious problems after a facet joint injection
are rare. Most often, patients do not have
any problems after treatment. There is a
slight risk of infection or bleeding in the
For 1-2 days after treatment, some patients
ξ Back or leg pain that is worse for
a brief time
ξ Redness and flushing around the
ξ Fluid gain for 1-2 days, which
may affect breathing if they have
ξ High blood sugars, if they have
Women of childbearing age may have a
change in their menstrual cycle. They may
have spotting between periods. If you have
periods and they change for more than 2
cycles, you should call your doctor to see if
you need to be checked.
Activities and Pain Relief
After your treatment, you must take the
rest of the day off from work, so please
plan for this.
ξ Avoid any strenuous physical
activity or heavy lifting for 24
ξ You may return to your normal
routine as soon as you are able.
ξ You may take the medicines that
you use for your low back pain.
ξ You will be given a pain log to
complete for the next 14 days.
Please complete this form and
mail it back to us. We will need
this information to decide the
next step in your treatment plan.
ξ Once your pain log is completed,
please contact the staff of the
clinic who ordered your
treatment to let them how much
pain relief you have had. Please
contact them sooner if you have
any questions about more
When and How to Contact the
Please call the radiologist if you have:
ξ Pain that gets worse in your low
ξ Fever greater than 100.4 θ F by
mouth for 2 readings taken 4
ξ Redness that gets worse or
swelling around the site
ξ Any drainage from the site where
the needle was placed
You can talk with the radiologist by calling
the Musculoskeletal Radiology
Interventional Service at (608) 263-9729
After hours, nights, weekends and holidays,
call (608) 263-6400. Please ask for the
radiology resident on call. Leave your name
and phone number with area code. The
doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, please call
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 8/2016. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#5243.