Medial Branch Block

A medial branch block is a diagnostic outpatient procedure performed to identify the nerve that serves a painful facet joint.

A medial branch block procedure involves an injection of local anesthetic that is placed outside the facet joint space near the medial branch nerve that supplies the facet joint. This diagnostic injection is used to identify the cause of your pain.

It will only provide short term pain relief. But if it works, it indicates that a more permanent Radiofrequency Neurotomy procedure may be appropriate for you to relieve your chronic nerve pain.

What to Expect

The medial branch block procedure is done under fluoroscopy (X-ray) guidance with the patient lying on their stomach. The back is first numbed with injections of a local anesthetic. The needle is then inserted under fluoroscopy, which allows the doctor to see your spine and the needle as it moves into the space next to the facet joint nerve branch. Once the needle is in the correct position, the numbing medication is injected.

After 20-30 minutes you will resume activity and try to provoke your usual pain. Over the next serveral hours, you will record your pain level, on a scale of 0-10, in a pain record. You’ll bring that pain record with you during your next scheduled office appointment.

Video Overview: Medial Branch Block