Lumbar Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy

This min­i­mal­ly-inva­sive pro­ce­dure, also called radiofre­quen­cy (RF) rhi­zo­to­my, reduces or elim­i­nates the pain of dam­aged facet joints by dis­rupt­ing the medi­al branch nerves that car­ry the pain sig­nals. This pro­ce­dure is per­formed with local anes­thet­ic. A nee­dle-like tube called a can­nu­la is insert­ed and posi­tioned near the irri­tat­ed medi­al branch nerves. An X‑ray or flu­o­ro­scope is used to help posi­tion the can­nu­la prop­er­ly. A radiofre­quen­cy elec­trode is insert­ed through the can­nu­la. The sur­geon tests the elec­trode’s posi­tion by admin­is­ter­ing a weak elec­tric jolt. If the stim­u­la­tion recre­ates the pain with­out any oth­er mus­cu­lar effects, the elec­trode is posi­tioned cor­rect­ly. The sur­geon uses the elec­trode to heat and cau­ter­ize the nerve. This dis­rupts its abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate with the brain, block­ing the pain sig­nals. The sur­geon may treat mul­ti­ple nerves if need­ed. After the pro­ce­dure, the elec­trode and can­nu­la are removed. Although pain may increase for the first week after the pro­ce­dure, the patient usu­al­ly has relief from pain with­in a month. Suc­cess­ful RF neu­ro­tomies can last longer than steroid block injections.

Click here review an illus­tra­tion of the Lum­bar Facet Radiofre­quen­cy Neu­ro­to­my pro­ce­dure.
(Infor­ma­tion obtained from www​.viewmed​ica​.com 2012 Swarm Interactive).