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Cervical and Lumbar Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy or Ablation, is a non-invasive treatment option for nerve pain that may be considered for patients who have had little success with other forms of treatment for their neck or back  facet joint pain. Radiofrequency Neurotomy is a non-surgical procedure and can be done on an outpatient basis. It has been shown to be most effective for individuals who have received pain relief following a temporary block of the nerve pathway to the cervical or lumbar facet joints.

Currently, there are a number of non-invasive treatments available to treat neck and back pain, and surgery is rarely warranted. Cervical and lumbar facet radiofrequency neurotomy is one minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment option available for relieving nerve pain, and is considered to be among the gold standard of treatment for pain originating in the cervical or lumbar facet.

 

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Many report that this treatment is highly effective in reducing or eliminating their nerve pain. Further, long-term follow-up studies have reported that most patients reported that the gains in terms of reduction of symptoms were maintained for 15 months. Moreover, approximately half of the individuals included in a treatment study reported being without pain for at least two years. 

Facet Joint Anatomy

facet injectionThe anatomy of the facet joints can help explain how facet joint injections, medial branch blocks and radiofrequency work. The facet joints, also known as zygapophysial joints, are located on the back of the spinal column in the lower back. In the neck area, they are located on both sides of the vertebra. There are two facet joints between each vertebra located on both sides of the spine. The facet joints are small bony knobs that are separated by a thin layer of cartilage. These joints are supply by the Medial nerve which sends all the joint sensations to the brain

The joints are surrounded by a capsule that is filled with lubricating fluid. This fluid, known as synovial fluid, helps to reduce friction between the bones during movement. The facet joints also provide stability to the trunk, which allows you to bend and twist. Chronic pain often results because of degenerative changes in the synovial facet joint area. This can ultimately result in limited mobility and increased pain. The Sensation of pain is sent to the brain by the medial nerve, and by injecting or destroying the medial nerve pain sensation to the brain is abolished. 

How is Cervical or Lumbar Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy Performed?

 The Facet joints are found on the posterior side of the spine. Owing to their shape, most facet joints in the spine have a somewhat limited range of motion. Cervical facet joints, however, are located near the neck and are shaped somewhat differently to allow for a more broad range of motion,  while  Injury or damage to these joints can present as inflammation, soreness, stiffness, or even pain that can be felt in the neck and upper back.

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Within the protective spinal canal is the spinal cord, which acts as the primary information pathway to and from the brain to various parts of the body. Also located here are medial nerves, which are believed to relay information between the brain and the facet joints.  

inj facetsCervical facet radiofrequency neurotomy is effective in reducing or eliminating neck and back pain as it blocks the medial nerve from transmitting the pain signal. It is typically performed in an outpatient setting. Using digital fluoroscopy as a guide your physician will insert a very small needle-sized tube, called the cannula, to the area of the affected nerve. Then, a very tiny electrode is fed through the cannula to the nerve. To check the accuracy of the placement, the physician will run a very mild current through the electrode causing the nerve to momentarily activate pain signals. The physician is able to recognize the  proper placement of the electrode by confirming a muscle twitch in response to this mild current. The physician will then apply a numbing agent to the nerve, and then deliver the radiofrequency heat. This application of heat damages the medial nerve creating a lesion. Thus, this damaged area blocks the medial nerve from sending pain signals to the brain.
Cervical or Lumbar facet radiofrequency neurotomy is primarily used to treat facet joint difficulties responsible for the neck or back pain. Your doctor will be able to let you know whether they believe you would benefit from radiofrequency neurotomy. Typically, a patient is deemed to be a good candidate for radiofrequency neurotomy if she or he experiences a temporary relief in symptoms following localized anaesthetic blocks of the nerves which supply the cervical or lumbar facet joints.

 Conclusion

Cervical or Lumbar facet radiofrequency neurotomy is a non-invasive treatment option for nerve pain that may be considered for patients who have had little success with other forms of treatment for their facet joint pain. Radiofrequency neurotomy is a non-surgical procedure and can be done on an outpatient basis. It has been shown to be most effective for individuals who have received pain relief following a temporary block of the nerve pathway to the cervical or lumbar facet joints. Individuals should speak with a physician should they have any concerns.

 

 

If you or someone close to you suffers from neck pain or low back pain that negatively interferes with the physical emotional, socio-labor and family sphere, consult us in our pain clinic to offer you the most advanced medical treatments such as image-guided injection technology for the relief and pain management of your neck pain or low back pain; that you can recover the optimal physical and functional abilities quickly, allowing you reintegrate with all enjoyable experiences and your socio-occupational life.

Dr. Roque has a vast and extensive experience in the mentioned field; In addition, the Center for Pain Management, located at 543 45th St. Union City NJ - Telephone 201-766-6469 - is fully equipped with innovative cutting-edge equipment and technology required to practice this type of procedures safely and effectively

 

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