Facet Rhizotomy and What It Can Do for You
The spine is made up of numerous moving parts, including the vertebral body, the intervertebral disc and facet joints. Although issues can occur in any part of the spine which can lead to back pain, it is frequently seen in the facet joints. These are small joints that are located along the spine behind and between the vertebrae. They allow for stabilization in the body and help you to move properly. It allows for the movement without excessive motion being permitted, which could cause you to topple over.
Unfortunately, the facet joints can also experience difficulties which would cause them to be painful. These difficulties could include osteoarthritis, in which the cartilage in the facet joint become worn down or disappears. This could permit bone to rub on bone and once osteoarthritis takes place, it can lead to pain, inflammation and other difficulties. It can also significantly reduce your quality of life because it limits what you are able to do on a day-to-day basis. This condition is sometimes referred to as spinal arthritis or facet joint syndrome. Although there are different treatments which may be considered, your Doctor may feel that facet rhizotomy is an option which would work well for you.
Facet rhizotomy may be effective at treating conditions which affect the facet joints, causing the bones to rub against each other or for a nerve to be pinched or pressed in the area. These are the main conditions which may be treated with facet rhizotomy, but they are not the only conditions which are treated with it.
The procedure that is known as facet rhizotomy is sometimes referred to as radiofrequency nerve lesioning. Rather than fixing the problem and correcting the error, which is not possible with osteoarthritis, it reduces the pain that you are experiencing by deadening the nerve in the area. Since that nerve is responsible for transmitting the pain signals to your brain, deadening it will help to reduce the pain that is a problem for you. It also blocks the nerves in the surrounding area, keeping them from sending painful signals to the brain as well.
Some Facts about Facet Rhizotomy
Facet rhizotomy is performed on an outpatient basis and it involves inserting a needle into the area that is experiencing the difficulty. The needle has an electrode attached to the tip, which will heat up significantly in order to produce the deadening effect for the nerves that surround the area. In turn, this is what produces the pain relief that you experience.
In order for facet rhizotomy to be performed, the doctor will numb the area with a local anesthetic. X-ray imaging techniques will be used in order to precisely guide the needle to the facet joint that is causing the difficulties. From that point, the procedure can be completed for your benefit. Since it is a minimally invasive procedure, only a small hole is going to be caused in the skin where the needle will be inserted. It is a relatively short procedure, which will not likely take more than an hour to complete.
The effects of facet rhizotomy vary from one individual to another. For some, the pain relief that is experienced as a result of the procedure can last for six months but for others, years of relief may be available. Typically, it is not the first choice that is available for pain relief and there may be other options that are suggested by your physician before this one takes place. It may also not be suggested until the facet joints have eroded significantly.
If you are having difficulties with pain, it is important for you to be able to trust the specialist that is caring for your needs. At The DFW Pain Docs, we are specialized in caring for many different painful conditions, including facet joint syndrome. Contact us today for more information about how we can assist you with your difficulty and to provide you with the pain relief that you need. We have many locations throughout the Dallas Fort Worth area for your convenience.