Lumbar Endoscopic Rhizotomy
Endoscopic Rhizotomy, also called radiofrequency neurotomy, is a minimally invasive neurosurgical procedure in which spinal nerve roots are cauterized for permanent relief. This procedure is performed to provide pain relief caused by damaged facet joints.
The spinal cord has a pair of facet joints at each level of the spine. Osteoarthritis in both or one facet joint can cause pain similar to arthritis in hips and knees. The main causes associated with degeneration of the facet joints are aging, spinal injury, side-effects of disc degeneration, stress from previous spinal fusion surgery, and stress caused by spine or brain tumors.
Endoscopic Rhizotomy is a successful spine surgery for curing pain caused by facet joint degeneration in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.
Who Needs Lumbar Endoscopic Rhizotomy
- A good candidate for the surgery is a patient who is suffering from neck pain, back pain, and muscle spasms because of the degeneration of facet joints.
- The patient must have confirmation of the pain source from spine specialists, facet injections, or dorsal branch blocks that can confirm the source as well.
- An Endoscopic Rhizotomy is prescribed after conservative medical treatment options have failed to cure the pain.
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How Is It Performed?
Endoscopic Rhizotomy is a simple, minimally invasive procedure. The following steps can be expected during the surgery:
- The patient is given local anesthesia.
- The spine surgeon inserts a cannula into the nerve under fluoroscopic guidance. An electrode is passed through the wire to the spinal nerve.
- An endoscope is inserted to visualize the medial branch of the dorsal ramus (dorsal branch of the spinal nerve).
- An electric current is passed in the wire, which is conducted by the electrode, the heat from the current cauterizes nerve endings, disabling them from sending a pain signal to the brain.
Endoscopic Rhizotomy cures the pain for up to a year, after which the procedure may be repeated.
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How Long Is Recovery From Rhizotomy?
- It takes around two to four weeks after your surgery for your nerves to heal from Rhizotomy; during this period, your pain will continue to improve.
- You can start to feel the maximum benefits of your surgery two weeks afterward, and they last up to 12 months.
What Is the Success Rate of a Rhizotomy?
- Lumbar Rhizotomy has a success rate of 70 percent to 80 percent in eliminating or reducing back pain.
- One rhizotomy procedure can last you for a year or more; after that, the nerves can start regenerating, and pain can recur, if so, the procedure can be repeated.
How Long Does a Rhizotomy Procedure Take?
- The rhizotomy procedure itself only takes thirty minutes to an hour; you can rest for 30 more minutes and recover before going home.