Facet joints are found in the spinal column in between each of the vertebrae that make up the spine. Facet joints have a disc between them and are surrounded by ligaments. Facet joints are important because they provide fluid that lubricates joint movement. These joints can become damaged over time, due to age, injury, or from excess pressure. When that happens the results can be very painful. To combat the pain conservative treatment may include pain-relieving medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, or muscle relaxants. When those options prove unsuccessful nerve ablation (where an electrical current is used to destroy the faulty nerve that is sending a pain impulse) or Axial Fusion surgery may be the solution.
Fusion surgery involves repairing worn or damaged discs in the lower back. It is typically performed on the disc that lies between the first sacral vertebra and the last lumbar vertebra. The surgeon would make a small incision next to the tailbone to access the facet joints. They then would remove the damaged portions of the disc and replaces them with bone graft material. The surgeon will then fuse the discs to stabilize that area of the spine.
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