A rhizotomy is a specialized procedure that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to sever nerves in the facet joints of the spine. The spinal column consists of 33 bones (vertebrae) and for each bone, there are two facet joints that act as hinges to support the movement of the spine. There are four main sections of the spine: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. A rhizotomy can be performed on any section of the back to bring relief from chronic facet joint pain. At Tricity Pain Associates, our highly trained and experienced team of pain management specialists are committed to accurately diagnose your condition to determine the most appropriate treatment. If you have chronic or sudden onsets of back pain, contact one of our Texas facilities today to schedule a private consultation to see if a rhizotomy is right for you.
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Ideal candidates for a rhizotomy are men and women with facet joint syndrome or those suffering from facet joint pain due to advanced age, certain health conditions, or an injury. During your initial visit, we will perform a thorough assessment and review your medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure. We can also discuss other therapies that can be incorporated with your treatment plan that can help produce even greater results. If you are on any medication, it's important to disclose that during your consultation as certain medications may need to be discontinued for a short time to ensure your safety.
A rhizotomy is an outpatient procedure that is performed on-site in one of our private treatment rooms and typically takes about 30 – 90 minutes to complete. At the start of your procedure, we will have you lie face down to apply a local anesthetic to the target area in addition to IV sedation to keep you as comfortable as possible. With the guidance of a live x-ray or fluoroscopy, the needle is inserted into the appropriate area. Then, an electrode is threaded through the needle to transmit the radiofrequency waves to the facet joints. The RF technology produces heat that cauterizes the nerve in the spine without harming the surrounding tissue. This process disables the sensory nerve to prevent it from sending pain signals. Rhizotomy has a high success rate and has helped patients with significant pain to reach about 80% pain relief.
What To Expect
Although an outpatient procedure, a rhizotomy utilizes IV sedation, which means you will need a responsible adult to drive you home afterward. You should allow yourself to rest for the rest of the day, and avoid strenuous activity and operating heavy machinery. The injections sites may be sore for the next few days, but this is normal. A rhizotomy temporarily "turns off" pain signals in the designated areas of discomfort, but results have been known to last up to six months. Typically, most patients undergo this procedure twice a year.
Target joint pain
Are you experiencing chronic neck or back pain or have been diagnosed with facet joint syndrome? A rhizotomy may provide the relief you need to bring significant improvement. Our specialists at Tricity Pain Associates are highly trained and skilled in performing radiofrequency rhizotomy and have helped countless men and women who are suffering from severe facet joint pain due to the natural aging process, certain medical conditions, and injury.