What Is Radiofrequency Ablation of Medial Branch (of Facet Joints)?
The Z-joints joints are located in the back of the spine and prevent excessive twisting of the spine. If it has been determined through a medial branch nerve injection (diagnostic) that the pain is emanating from the joint, then radiofrequency rhizotomy (therapeutic) of the small nerve going to the joint may be employed for longer acting pain relief from pain due to arthritis or joint damage to the neck or low back.
The radiofrequency procedure involves using radio waves to create an electric current and heat. The heat produced by the current “stuns” the nerves that innervate the small joints of the spine which can cause pain. Performing radiofrequency ablation can provide you with significant, long lasting pain relief.
Does the Radiofrequency Ablation Hurt?
After the needles are placed, local anesthetic is injected before the radiofrequency is activated. Most patients tolerate the procedure well, although some physicians will elect to incorporate sedation in selected situations.
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