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Does anyone know what facet effusion is?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi all,
I've been diagnosed with many different back problems one of which is facet arthropathy with effusion. Now arthropathy is plain old arthritis(why don't they just call it that?) and effusion, according to Webster is leaking fluid. Okay if I have arthritic facets with effusion where is the leaking occuring from? The disc or what? Or is there another explanation for effusion that could apply? Thanks in advance!
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Comments

  • Still wondering. What in the world is facet EFFUSION? Did searches everywhere, still can't find out! thanx
  • As I understand it, facet effusion is an accumulation of excess fluid in the facet joint. It often goes along with any type of arthritis in the joint. All joints have synovial fluid --this is the thick lubricant that allows them to move freely without friction. Sometimes our bodies make too much and it can cause inflammation at the joint. But don't worry. Nothing is leaking.

    Have you ever seen anyone with "water on the knee?" This is the same situation. Often due to injury or bruising, fluid builds up on the knee and it looks very swollen and red.

    In the lower back, especially where there is some arthritis present, there is a build up of fluid in the facet joint or joints. Anything that becomes larger than normal in the spine, can become a source of pain as it starts to press on the nerves. This is actually a fairly common cause of lower back pain.

  • You must be a Dr. or nurse! You are the only person and the only place I've got the answer! Thank you VERY much!
  • No, I have no medical training. This is what I think it is--I could be mistaken!! But from everything I have read and heard, I believe it to be what I tried to explain to you!!
  • Hi UPer,
    (I'm from Wisconsin, we're practically neighbors)
    I have facet effusions on a degenrative L4-L5 joint, and from what little I have been able to find, it seems that effusion may be either swelling OR leaking of spinal fluid from the facets.

    In my case the left-side facet of L4-L5 has a large osteophyte (bone spur) growing around it, and I am convinced I will need a foramenotomy to clear space around a pinched L5 nerve root, to address neurogenic claudication (spasms & cramping in the legs, buttox, and low back).

    Good news for me is that it appears all my discs are in pretty good shape, with full height. Only the disc at L4-L5 is showing some wear, and I suspect it is because of the Facet joints starting to lose their ability to support the joint (they are slowly failing).

    I am also looking for possible facet-joint injections of steriods (similar to Epidural Steroid injections, but specifically into the facet joints), or maybe something called Facet Radio-frequency ablation, which "burns" the nerve near the facet joint.

    I understand that RF Ablation lasts much longer than Steroid injections (pain-releif-wise) for the facet joints.

    They do diagnostic injections of lidocaine first, to see if this releives the pain.
    Long-term, I am guessing the left facet on L4-L5 will fail, because I already have a 6MM spondylolisthesis (slippage bw L4 vertabra and L5).

    I am still in the slow process of diagnosis, working with my Rheumatologist and a Neurologist, and likely soon a Neurosurgeon.

    Good luck with your treatment!
    papa Joe
  • fluid leaking from the spinal joints {all i did was google it }
    tony
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
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