Radiofrequency ablation or rhizotomy can be a long-lasting pain relief procedure if you have had success with pain block injections in the past. The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia offers rhizotomy for men and women in Kingsland and Brunswick who are struggling with chronic pain.
What is Rhizotomy?
Radiofrequency ablation, also known as rhizotomy or facet rhizotomy, is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency (RF) waves to heat nerves and stop or reduce pain transmissions. RF energy ablates or burns nerves responsible for chronic pain to stop pain signals from being transmitted to the brain.
Radiofrequency ablation is a fairly new pain relief treatment that usually targets pain in the facet joints which can cause pain in the lower back, neck, and sacroiliac joints. These facet joints are the small joint pairs located at every vertebral level of the spine and connect to medial branch nerves that carry signals to the brain.
How is the Lumbar Rhizotomy Procedure Performed in Brunswick?
Rhizotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that does not require the use of anesthesia. Your procedure will begin by lying on your stomach or your side. A small area around the spine will be numbed with a topical anesthetic and a fluoroscopy will be used to provide real time x-ray guidance. Your doctor will use this guidance to direct a radiofrequency needle along the targeted nerves.
First, a tiny amount of current will be passed through the probe to be sure the correct nerve is targeted. You may feel a muscle twitch or very brief pain at this point. When the correct position is located, additional anesthetic is applied to the treatment area. For the rest of the procedure, you will feel nothing or a warm but mild sensation. The radiofrequency current that passes through the needle will be used to create a tiny, precise burn to destroy the part of the nerve transmitting pain. It takes about 90 seconds to burn every site.
Who is a Candidate for Radiofrequency Ablation?
Rhizotomy is typically used to treat chronic pain of the back, knee, and pelvis as well as peripheral nerve pain, spinal arthritis (spondylosis), and sacroilitis. You may be a candidate for rhizotomy in Brunswick if your pain responded well to pain block injections like steroid injections.
What is Rhizotomy Recovery Like?
After your procedure, you should be fine to walk right away. You may be monitored for a short amount of time before you are allowed to leave, and you will need someone to drive you. You may experience some pain from your rhizotomy for up to two weeks due to the residual effects of nerve ablation. Most people return to work and most normal activities within one to two days, however.
How Long Does Pain Relief from Radiofrequency Ablation Last?
You will experience pain relief within 10 days or up to three weeks. The pain relief you experience can last anywhere from nine to 24 months. In some cases, the ablated nerve can regrow through the lesion. If this happens, it usually takes six to 12 months after the ablation. Among people who have had success with nerve blocks, rhizotomy is up to 80% effective.
The radiofrequency ablation procedure in Brunswick is an excellent solution to achieve long-term pain relief without invasive surgery. The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia proudly offers this advanced procedure to patients with chronic pain in Kingsland and Brunwick. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about rhizotomy and whether it may help you.