If you are dealing with chronic neck pain and a facet joint injection has produced good results, cervical facet radiofrequency neurotomy can give you longer-lasting pain relief. The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia offers effective pain relief treatments for men and women in Brunswick and Kingsland, GA.
What is Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy?
Cervical facet radiofrequency neurotomy, also known as a cervical facet rhizotomy or cervical facet neurotomy, is a minimally invasive procedure that destroys painful nerves in the cervical facet joints by ablation. This procedure burns or ablates nerves using radiofrequency energy through an electrode at the tip of a needle. This prevents the passage of pain impulses from the joint to the brain.
Cervical facet neurotomy is performed at the same site as a facet joint injection and it works best for patients who have already responded well to these injections.
What Does Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy Treat?
The cervical facet rhizotomy procedure treats patients suffering from chronic neck pain who have responded to a facet joint injection.
The cervical area of the spine is located in the neck. Seven small vertebrae make up the cervical spine, and pain felt as a result of spinal nerve roots in this area can potentially be eliminated with the cervical facet rhizotomy procedure.
This procedure can also treat some symptoms that result from conditions like cervical dystonia, spastic diplegia, and other forms of spastic cerebral palsy.
How is Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy Performed?
For cervical facet rhizotomy, you will need to lay on your stomach on the procedure table and the injection site will be numbed. Your physician will use fluoroscopy, or live x-ray technology, to insert a small needle with an electrode at the tip alongside the nerves and into the facet joint. The use of the fluoroscope grants your physician the ability to see in real-time where the needle is in relation to where it should be going, allowing for a great deal of precision.
With the use of radiofrequency energy, the electrode at the tip of the needle is heated. Using this, your physician will then cauterize the nerve ending, in turn blocking any of the pain signals from traveling from that nerve to the brain. This procedure will need to be done at least twice as each joint has two nerves. It may need to be performed more times in additional treatment areas, depending on the sources of your pain.
The whole procedure should take somewhere around 30 to 60 minutes to perform.
What Can I Expect After a Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy Procedure?
Radiofrequency ablation is considered a safe and effective treatment. Cervical facet radiofrequency neurotomy side effects can include some bruising, swelling, or general soreness around the site of the injection. Most people can expect to be able to return to their normal activities the day following the procedure. Ice or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ibuprofen can help with tenderness. Any soreness may last as long as three weeks, but it should typically resolve within one week.
Ablated nerves typically grow back but this can take years, offering long-term relief from cervical facet joint pain.
If you are struggling with chronic neck pain, you may be a good candidate for cervical facet radiofrequency neurotomy. The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia serves patients in Kingsland and Brunswick, GA. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to find out if you can benefit from cervical facet RF neurotomy.