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Radiofrequency Rhizotomy

For specific spinal pain that just throbs,
Radiofrequency Rhizotomy may bring relief

You'd like to take a jackhammer to the nerve that's delivering throbbing pain to the L5 facet joint. But you just can't reach back far enough. You've had several therapeutic injections to this area before, but with just temporary relief. You may want to ask about Radiofrequency Rhizotomy.

This relatively new therapeutic procedure targets sensory nerves that stimulate a particular facet joint. A facet is the small smooth flat surface on a bone that's part of your spine. Because of the potential irreversibility of rhizotomy, McLaren Bay Region's Pain Management Center's physician team will want to verify the exact nerve or nerves responsible for your agonizing cervical or lumbar back pain. You may go through a series of facet injections or discography tests to pinpoint which nerve(s) should be cauterized, or permanently disabled.

The Pain Management specialist places a needle adjacent to the nerve, using a fluoroscope connected to a TV monitor. The nerve or nerves are stimulated by electrode, and you will feel an ache sensation that ensures the precise site has been located. An electric current then destroys the sensory nerve stimulating the facet joint. Pain relief lasts considerably longer than local anesthetic or therapeutic blocks.

You may feel some discomfort at the injection site once the local anesthetic has worn off. Don't be surprised if you experience an increase in symptoms the first week after the procedure. The area around the cauterized nerve must heal. Pain relief from the rhizotomy should be felt within 2-4 weeks.

This is an outpatient procedure lasting about 45 minutes. Patients should bring a spouse or friend to drive them home.

Now, aren't you glad to decided against the jackhammer?

For further information, call McLaren Bay Region's Pain Management Center at (989) 667-3350.