Medial Branch Blocks

What is a Medial Branch block?

A Medial Branch Block (MBB) is a nerve block performed under X-Ray. The Medial Branch nerve lies near the spinal facet joints. The MBB anaesthetizes the facet joints. If your pain is coming from the facet joints then the pain will resolve for a period of time – up to 12 hours, but normally between 3-6 hours.

This is how we diagnose pain coming from the facet joints of the spine.

If you are diagnosed with facet joint pain, your pain doctor will discuss a Radiofrequency Neurotomy treatment with you – which is the treatment for facet joint pain.

How long will I be in Hospital?

This procedure is done as a Day only procedure. Make sure you arrange for a relative or friend to bring you into Hospital and to take you home and stay with you on the first night after the procedure.

How is the procedure performed?

The procedure is performed under light sedation, using X-Ray. You will be lying face down on some pillows.

Are there any Side effects or Complications?

Some temporary soreness at the needle site and bruising may be present. This usually resolves after a few hours. Ask your Doctor if you have any concerns. Other rare complications are discussed in the Spinal Injection Information Sheet.

What preparations are there before the procedure?

You will need to fast for the procedure. You will normally be asked to omit your pain medication on the morning of the procedure. If you have no or little pain on the day, please let your pain doctor know as we may need to delay the MBB injection.

After the injection.

After the injection we monitor your pain levels with a pain chart. You will be discharged after about 2 hours. The NIPM nurses will call you the morning after the procedure to assess your response and arrange follow up.

If you experience any severe pain, leg weakness or numbness, fevers, chills, severe headaches, bleeding /discharge from the wounds, or if you have any other concerns then please contact NIPM or the Day Hospital centre. If for some reason it is not possible to get in touch, please see your GP or attend your local emergency department for assessment.