Facet Rhizotomy

The facet joints are often the primary source of pain for many back pain sufferers, especially after a car accident. Located in pairs on the back of the spine, the facet joints provide stability and allow the spine to be flexible.  After your wreck, you may notice that your facet joints are problematic and causing pain in your mid-back, chest, lower-back and ribs.
A treatment that is commonly used to aid this problem is facet joint injections of steroid medication, but for some patients this is not enough pain relief and they require a facet rhizotomy.
What Is Facet Rhizotomy?
In a facet rhizotomy, the goal is the provide pain relief by shutting off the pain signals that the joints send to the brain. Facet rhizotomy is a procedure used in patients who have experience long-term pain, from months to even years. The facet rhizotomy requires the use of an electrical current to destroy the nerve fibers carrying pain signals to the brain.The purpose of a facet rhizotomy injection is to provide lasting low back pain relief by disabling the sensory nerve that goes to the facet joint.
How It Works
Facet RhizotomyIn the procedure, a needle with a probe is inserted just outside the joint. Then the probe is heated with radio waves and applied to the nerve in order to disable it. The idea is that by deadening the sensory nerve to the facet joint it effectively prevents pain signals from getting to the brain. In approximately 50 percent of patients, a facet rhizotomy injection is successful at providing pain relief for the long-term.

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