Ms. Mary Claire Walsh
SpineUniverse Staff Writer
What is facet rhizotomy?
The goal of a facet rhizotomy is to provide pain relief by "shutting off" the pain signals that the joints send to the brain. The pain relief experienced by most patients who have this procedure lasts months or even years.
How it is done
Patients who are candidates for rhizotomy typically have undergone several facet joint injections to verify the source and exact location of their pain. Using a local anesthetic and x-ray guidance, a needle with an electrode at the tip is placed along side the small nerves to the facet joint. The electrode is then heated, with a technology called radiofrequency, to deaden these nerves that carry pain signals to the brain.
Serious complications with facet rhizotomies are rare. A new technique using pulsed radiofrequency does not actually burn the nerve, but appears to stun the nerve. This technique appears to be even safer than the regular radiofrequency technique, but does seem to have the drawback of not lasting quite as long. Some specialists (such as the author) prefer to use the pulsed technique in higher risk areas such as the neck.
The procedure takes about 30-60 minutes. Afterwards, patients are monitored for a short time before being released.
A link here for further onfo
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