What is the therapeutic goal of cervical facet blocks?

Updated: Jun 19, 2018
  • Author: Anthony H Wheeler, MD; Chief Editor: Meda Raghavendra (Raghu), MD  more...
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Although the goals of this procedure are controversial, therapeutic response is the primary goal for the proceduralist. The capacity of the joint can be gauged from the injection of the contrast medium; it is usually less than 1 mL. The capacity of zygapophyseal joints should be considered to prevent rupture of the joint capsule and unwanted spread of the injected agent into surrounding tissues, which may exacerbate the patient's pain syndrome and confound the identification of the joint as a pain generator. Other possible complications include inadvertent trauma and puncture of the deep cervical artery en route, the facet-joint capsule, the vertebral artery or vein, the ventral ramus of the spinal nerve, the epidural space, or in some cases the spinal cord.

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