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What is a Facet Rhizotomy?

What is a Facet Rhizotomy?


facet Rhizotomy back pain treatmentRhizotomy is a procedure which results in the interruption of the nerve supply to a facet joint.  This interruption known as denervation, is accomplished by a radio-frequency probe that heats the 2 small nerve branches to each facet joint.  These nerves are called medial branches.

What is a Rhizotomy used to treat?

Facet Rhizotomy is used in the treatment of chronic back pain or degenerative disc disease. This is an outpatient procedure and is minimally invasive.

Expected Results from Facet Rhizotomy:

Following the rhizotomy, there is a 60% chance of complete pain relief.  This pain relief typically lasts up to 1 ½ years.  The nerve eventually grows back and the procedure can be repeated if necessary.  Although the patient is experiencing pain relief, physical therapy is often recommended to strengthen the involved facet joints and improve the likelihood of long-term pain relief.

How long does a Rhizotomy take?

The rhizotomy takes about one 30 min to one hour, depending on the number of levels (within the spine)  to be done.  Following the procedure the patient is then placed into our comfortable recovery room to be monitored by experienced clinical staff for approximately 20 – 30 minutes. It is important to discuss your expectations for this and any procedure with your pain relief physician prior to under going the procedure. It may take as long as 2 to 6 weeks for patients to notice any pain relief after this procedure.  Two weeks after the procedure patients will return to Newbridge Spine & Pain for a follow-up consultation with their pain management specialist.

What happens during the procedure?

  1. The patient is positioned on his/her stomach.
  2. The Anesthesiologist starts IV and provides the patient sedation.
  3. The area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and the skin over the injection site is numbed.
  4. The doctor uses x-ray guidance to place thin needles in the area involved.
  5. A radio frequency machine is then used to interrupt the facet nerves.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

Your pain management provider will thoroughly brief you on all pre-procedure requirements and provide you with instructions when you book your procedure. Please tell your doctor before the procedure is scheduled if you are taking any blood thinning medication. Patients are required to have a driver pick them up following the procedure.

Newbridge Spine & Pain Physicians are seasoned Anesthesiologists sub-specialty certified in pain management. Practicing a conservative approach to pain management our physicians treat all chronic pain. Contact us to make an appointment and Stop Hurting… Start Living!