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VASCULAR AND INTERVENTIONAL Table of Contents   
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 29-34
Image-guided lumbar facet joint infiltration in nonradicular low back pain


1 Department of Radiodiagnosis, Command Hospital, Air Force, Bangalore, India
2 Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Command Hospital, Air Force, Bangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
Arti Chaturvedi
Department of Radiodiagnosis, Command Hospital Air Force, Airport Road, Bangalore-560 007
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0971-3026.44522

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Objective: To assess the efficacy of facet joint infiltrations for pain relief in 44 selected patients with chronic nonradicular low back pain (LBP). Materials and Methods: Forty-four patients with chronic LBP of more than 3 months' duration were selected for facet joint infiltration. The majority (n = 24) had facetal pain with no evidence of significant facetal arthropathy on imaging. Fifteen patients had radiological evidence of facetal arthropathy, one had a facet joint synovial cyst, three were post-lumbar surgery patients, and two patients had spondylolysis. Facet joint injections were carried out under fluoroscopic guidance in 39 patients and under CT guidance in 5 cases. Pain relief was assessed using the visual analog scale at 1 h post-procedure and, thereafter, at 1, 4, 12, and 24 weeks. Results: A total of 141 facet joints were infiltrated in 44 patients over a 2-year period. There was significant pain relief in 81.8% patients 1 h after the procedure, in 86.3% after 1 week, in 93.3% after 4 weeks, in 85.7% after 12 weeks, and in 62.5% after 24 weeks. No major complications were encountered. Conclusions: Facet nerve block was found to be a simple, minimally invasive, and safe procedure. With meticulous patient selection, we achieved long-term success rates of over 60%. We conclude that this method represents an important alternative treatment for nonradicular back pain.


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