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Lumbar Medial Branch Block

LUMBAR MEDIAL BRANCH BLOCK is a diagnostic procedure that is very

safely and quickly performed with fluoroscopic (X-ray) or CT guidance.   

The facet joints of the lumbar spine may be diagnosed as the cause of your

back pain from from findings on MRI, CT, or X-Ray, and your history of pain,

and physical examination.  To determine if the arthritic joints are actually the

source of your pain, a thin needle is guided with fluoroscopy (real time X-ray)

to a point near the facet joint where the  Medial Branch Nerve that gives the joint its sensation is found, and a solution of an anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication is injected around the nerve.  This serves to temporarily deaden or "block" the nerve, keeping it from sending any painful sensations from the joint to the brain. 

If the suspected joints are the reason for your pain, you will experience a

very high degree of temporary relief of low back pain and stiffness.

This diagnostic procedure will pinpoint which involved facet joints are the 

source of your pain, and should provide a very high degree of very

temporary relief.  When your pain returns a second set of confirmatory 

blocks are usually performed. 


If on two occasions your usual low back pain is well relieved, you will likely want to proceed to endoscopic facet rhizotomy for long term relief.



Yes, in the hands of an experienced Pain Physician it is a very safe and simple procedure  that is well tolerated.


No, the procedure is generally performed with local anesthesia and well tolerated with mild discomfort.  However, you may choose to have IV anesthesia for additional comfort should you choose.  After the procedure there should be no more than mild stiffness and onset of pain relief is rapid.

medial branch block
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