Medial Branch Block (MBB)
What is it?
The medial branch nerve is the nerve that innervates the facet joints in the spine. There is a medial branch nerve at each level of the spine. When patients have arthritis of the facet joints, blocking this nerve or neurotomy of the nerve can make the patient not feel the arthritis as well. The medial branch block is most commonly used as a diagnostic tool to figure out if facet joint arthritis is contributing to a patient’s back pain.
How does it work?
A medial branch block is carried out under fluoroscopic guidance. A physician uses bony landmarks to place a needle in close proximity of the nerve and then a medication, usually bupivacaine, is injected.
What conditions does it treat?
A medial branch block is used to treat facet joint arthritis, also known as spondylosis or facet arthropathy. It is most commonly used as a diagnostic tool to see if a patient is a candidate for radiofrequency neurotomy of the medial branch nerve.