Radiofrequency Facet Joint Denervation

Facet joints of the spine have a capsule which can develop degenerative arthritis. When this occurs, pain signals are transmitted via nerves called medial branch nerves which can present as neck or back pain. If these joints are identified as a source of pain via a facet joint injection, but clinically the pain relief is not very long, a procedure called Radiofrequency Facet Joint Denervation (also known as radiofrequency facet joint rhizotomy or facet neurotomy) can be performed.

Using a small needle with a radiofrequency tip under live x-ray imaging, a small heat lesion can be created with very little discomfort in the vicinity of the medial branch nerve. This heat lesion can block pain signals from the joint while preventing total destruction of the nerve pathway (that would cause more damage), allowing function of the facet joint without the pain signals. Eventually, the nerve can grow back, and the clinical effects of the radiofrequency denervation last between 3 months to 3 years.

To learn more about radiofrequency facet joint denervations, contact us.