Rhizotomy is a minimally-invasive procedure to achieve long-lasting relief from debilitating back pain associated with facet disease, also known as spinal arthritis. As a pain management doctor in Los Angeles, Dr. Roy Nini performs rhizotomy treatments to provide long-lasting pain relief for patients suffering from this degenerative musculoskeletal condition.
What Is Facet Disease?
Spinal osteoarthritis, or facet disease, is degenerative arthritis affecting the facet joints existing between the individual vertebrae of the spine. When functioning properly, these joints allow the spine to move smoothly, while inhibiting certain motions that would injure the nerve tissue inside the spine. Because of their location and function, facet joints are susceptible to wear and tear over time.
Individuals with facet disease may experience sudden stiffness, difficulty moving the spine, or sharp back pain with movement.
Facet disease can occur in the:
- Cervical (neck) region of the spine;
- Lumbar (lower back) area of the spine.
- Thoracic (middle) region; or the
Factors that may contribute to this painful condition of the spine include:
- Genetic predisposition
What Is Rhizotomy?
Rhizotomy is an injection procedure to relieve neck and back pain associated with facet disease. This treatment uses an electrical current to destroy the nerve fibers that carry pain signals from the affected joints to the brain. It is typically performed after cortisone injections to reduce inflammation and limit function in irritated joint nerves.
How Areas of the Body Are Affected by Facet Disease
Body areas with pain and symptoms of facet disease are related to specific locations of joint degeneration in the spine. The facet joints appear in pairs on either side of the spine. Dr. Nini may recommend rhizotomy injections in the joints that have been identified as the source of the problems.
Degenerating facet joints in different regions of the spine can affect the body as follows:
- Cervical region – shoulders, upper back, arms, hands, fingers
- Thoracic region – middle back, torso, ribcage
- Lumbar region – lower back, buttocks, upper legs
How Rhizotomy Injections Are Performed
Rhizotomy is performed on an outpatient basis. For this treatment, the patient is placed face down on an X-ray table and local anesthetic is applied to the treatment area. Dr. Nini inserts a needle into the specific facet joint that is causing your pain, using fluoroscopy (a series of live X-rays) to guide the procedure.
An electrode is threaded through the needle and heated with pulses of radiofrequency energy. Precisely applied heat energy cauterizes the nerve without burning it. This prevents the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain.
Back and Neck Pain
Chronic back and neck pain can be debilitating. Rhizotomy treatments work by disabling the nerve that is causing you pain. This 30-minute procedure provides pain relief that can last for six months or more.
When you come to Full Range Ortho for pain management, Dr. Roy Nini will tailor an individual treatment program specifically for you after careful evaluation and diagnosis. To find out if you are a good candidate for rhizotomy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Nini in Los Angeles or Beverly Hills.