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Medial Branch Neurotomy: Your Experience

The treatment is done in a hospital or surgery center. Your health care provider will ask you to fill out some forms, including a consent form. Your health care provider may also examine you. He or she may give you an IV (intravenous) line for fluids and medications.

Woman sitting in chair, reading.
Relax at home for the rest of the day after your treatment, even if you feel good.

Getting Ready for Your Treatment

  • Ask your doctor whether you should stop taking any medications before treatment.

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or allergic to any medications.

  • Stop eating or drinking 8 hours before you check in for your treatment.

During the Procedure

To help you relax, your health care provider may give you medication through an IV (intravenous) line. You will lie on an exam table on your stomach, back, or side, depending on where the problem joint is.

  • Your health care provider will clean the skin over the treatment site and then numb it with medication.

  • Your doctor uses Fluoroscopy (X-ray imaging) to help see your spine and guide the treatment. Your doctor may inject a contrast dye into the affected region to help get a better image.

  • Your health care provider uses heat, cold, or chemicals to destroy part of the nerve near the inflamed facet joint. Nearby nerves may also be treated.

After the Procedure

Most often, you can go home in about an hour. Have an adult friend or relative drive you. The treated spot may be swollen and may feel more sore than usual. This is normal and may last for a day or so. It will be a few days before you feel relief from your symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications for you during that time. Ask him or her when it’s okay for you to go back to work.

Call your doctor if you have a fever over 101.0°F (38.3°C), chills, or redness or drainage at the treatment site.

Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Ziegler, Olivia Walton, MS, PA-C
Last Review Date: 3/7/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.