Debilitating pain narrows your world. Decreased range of motion only works to make your body less apt to perform. Facet rhizotomy changes that. Pain is significantly lessened or eliminated all together.
Diagnostic facet injections or “blocks” are not only used to confirm the facet joint as the cause of spinal pain symptoms. When the spinal facet joint has been determined to be the reason of low back or neck pain symptoms, facet rhizotomy may also provide long term pain relief which can last for months or years. Repeated spinal injections and supplemental pain medications may be unnecessary. The procedure may be performed traditionally with needles or, more recently, under direct endoscopic vision.
The facet nerve is located by a low voltage electric current or by direct endoscopic visualization. Once the nerve is found, microwave heat or laser heat energy is applied to intentionally damage the nerve to decrease its ability to carry pain signals. In selected locations in the back and neck, facet rhizotomy may provide long-term relief of back and neck pain symptoms for years or permanently.
Rhizotomy is frequently performed in association with spinal stenosis surgery, as the facet joint is nearly always arthritic in stenosis patients. Rhizotomy is also known as neurotomy, or facet nerve ablation. The techniques are all similar.