What is Radiofrequency Ablation/ Rhizotomy?
Radiofrequency ablation, also known as Rhizotomy, is a minimally invasive procedure that relieves back pain, neck pain, and other types of pain associated with facet disease. This procedure delivers radiofrequency waves into the targeted region to ablate (burn) the nerve roots carrying the pain signals into the brain. By blocking the pain signal transmission, it alleviates all the pain and discomfort.
What does Radiofrequency Ablation Treat?
Radiofrequency ablation treats chronic pains associated with facet disease, a degenerative condition affecting the facet joints between the vertebrae. The facet joints are supposed to ensure smooth spinal movements, allowing you to bend, twist, and stretch your spine without any discomfort. However, the facet joints can eventually be worn down due to age or injuries, leading to severe back and neck pains.
Individuals with facet disease may experience pain, discomfort, stiffness, and the loss of mobility in various parts of the body, depending on the location of the affected facet joint.
- Cervical facet joints cause pain in the shoulders, upper back, arms, hands, and fingers.
- Thoracic facet joints cause pain in the middle back, torso, and ribcage.
- Lumbar facet joints cause pain in the lower back, buttocks, and upper legs.
When the facet joints are worn down or damaged, the surrounding regions can get inflamed. And the surrounding nerve roots carry the pain signals to the brain, resulting in sharp pains. However, since radiofrequency ablation essentially destroys the nerve roots near the inflamed joints, you don’t experience any pain. The procedure is performed under fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, making it incredibly targeted.