Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy
What is a Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy
Also known as a radiofrequency rhizotomy, this minimally invasive testing procedure has the potential to eliminate or reduce pain in facet joints suffering from damage due to injury or degeneration. Cervical facet joins are located on both the left and right side of the spine. These facets connect to specific vertebrae, which guide spinal movement.
Pain in the cervical facet joints is typically the result of joint dysfunctions, and the symptoms of irritation in these faces may range from simplistic muscle tensions and spasms to more severe pain symptoms. A radiofrequency rhizotomy of the cervical facet can relieve these symptoms in the majority of sufferers of this type of pain.
How a Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy is Performed
During the course of a radiofrequency neurotomy of cervical joints, radiofrequency energy is utilized with the intent on disrupting normal functions of a cervical bran nerve. This means that the branch cannot transmit any further pain from the irritated joint to the receptor nerves. Here is what you can expect at your cervical facet radiofrequency neurotomy appointment.
- Physicians position the patient appropriately across the examination table.
- Local anesthesia is applied to the area to be tested in order to numb the skin and tissue at the site of the injection. These anesthetics typically penetrate down to the spinal column for maximum pain prevention during testing.
- Using the dye for guidance the practicing physician then inserts a cannula – a needle-like tube filled with dye – into the affected medial branch nerves.
- Once the cannula devices are situated appropriately, the physician inserts a radiofrequency electrode into them.
- Each cannula is tested through the administration of mild electrical currents. When the stimulation mimics the pain the patient is experiencing without additional muscular efforts, the doctor presumes that the testing electrodes are appropriately placed.
- Knowing that the electrodes and the cannula are placed appropriately, the physician can begin the procedure.
- Once the doctor knows where the target areas are specifically and pinpoint them in the beginning of this procedure, they can begin the healing process with a cervical facet radiofrequency neurotomy.
- A heated electrode in introduced into the cannula divided region and distributes heat directly to the area. This effectively cauterizes the nerve, disrupting its potential to communicate with brain cells, resulting in effective blocking of the pain signals sent to it.
Efficacy of Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy Procedures
It’s not unusual for recipients of extensive testing via cervical facet radiofrequency neurotomy testing to have some residual pain for several weeks to over a month. However, steroidal block injections can help those with severely painful side effects. Most patients will experience soreness in the tested region for several days post-testing, but the majority can return to full activities and work two days after the procedure.
Is a Radiofrequency Rhizotomy Right for You?
If you have suffered pain in areas ranging from the head down to the shoulder blades, a cervical facet joint radiofrequency neurotomy may be right for you. If you are experiencing symptoms involving pain, numbness, tingling, or pain in specific areas, a cervical facet radiofrequency neurotomy exam may be an excellent choice for you.