Rhizotomy treatment is done to treat pain caused by the facet joints by creating a lesion or burn in the pain fibers to the facet joint, also known as the medial branch of the posterior primary ramus. The purpose of radiofrequency lesioning of the medial branch nerves is to decrease pain and improve function. This is done only if pain is relieved temporarily by facet/medial branch nerve blocks.
How does Rhizotomy Treatment Work?
It is accomplished by placing a special needle alongside the facet joint under X-ray control. Following this, a controlled heat lesion is made to decrease the sensation of the facet joints. Nerve testing is performed to verify the proper position of the needle. An intravenous solution may be started so that medications or a short-acting sedative, if necessary, can be given during the procedure.
Rhizotomy treatment will take approximately 20 – 30 minutes. You will then be monitored afterward for an additional 15-30 minutes. After you return home, you may use ice packs to relieve any discomfort. You may have some minor discomfort in the area during the first week following the procedure. Most patients notice an improvement in about 7-10 days but it may take up to a few weeks for you to notice any improvement.