Radio-Frequency Ablation

To treat your pain, the pain management team has suggested a lumbar facet rhizotomy neurotomy be performed. This procedure produces the same effect that the temporary facet block produced, except that it can last 6 months to two years. If the pain returns, the intensity is less. The procedure may be repeated. A diagnostic facet must yield positive results to consider this procedure.
This procedure will be completed at the Pain Treatment Center under flouro (low-dose X-ray) guidance. This will allow the physician to visualize the precise areas. The radiological technologist, nurse, and physician will be present during the entire procedure.
You will report to the Pain Treatment Center where a short assessment will be completed. Vital signs will be obtained and an intravenous (IV) may be inserted. You will be positioned on the procedure table on your stomach. The nurse and technologist will assist you into position. Sedation will be given through your IV. The precise areas will be located using fluoroscopy.
The physician will instill a local anesthetic. Once the areas are numb, a special coated needle will be placed at those areas. After tests are completed to ensure the needle is in the exact location, radiofrequency waves are generated. The tip of the needle heats up the nerve and the pathways are stopped, and your pain is lessened. The effects are rarely immediate, and relief may not be noted for up to two weeks following the procedure.
Complaints of tenderness and achiness in the general area are common. Side effects are soreness at the injection sites and exacerbation (worsening) of the symptoms. Complications, which are infrequent, may include infection, bruising, or hematoma (blood leaking under the skin). on rare occasions, some temporary numbness along the skin can occur. This will resolve with time.