Facet Synovial Cyst Aspiration
Facet joints connect the bones of the spine together. There are two facet joints are located at each level of the spine and these joints allow motion and provide stability to the spine. Facet joints are normally filled with fluid. In some patients when facet joints begin to degenerate small amounts of fluid may escape from the joint capsule creating a sac-like protrusion or cyst. These sacs may place pressure on spinal nerves and cause pain. Treatment may include removing the fluid from the cyst with a needle under X-ray guidance. X-ray dye is injected to be sure the needle is positioned correctly. Medications injected may include a steroid (long-acting cortisone type medication) and a local anesthetic. The actions of these medications are to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. The local anesthetic may provide immediate, but brief relief. The steroid can take anywhere from a few days to a week to start working, and is intended to provide extended relief.