acet blocks are used as diagnostic tools to determine if facet joint pathology is causing or contributing to low back pain. Local anesthetic and sometimes steroid are injected into the joint or near the joint where a small nerve (medial branch of dorsal primary ramus) transmits pain information.
This is done under fluoroscopy for better visualization of the effected joint or nerve. Once the correct area has been targeted then we use the facet denervation/radiofrequency technique.
Facet Denervation (Radiofrequency)
Facet denervation is performed after we have confirmed the diagnosis of facet pain, also known as facet arthropathy syndrome. Denervation typically results in significant reduction of pain for a period of 6 to 18 months. Nerves will regenerate over time but the procedure may be repeated if and when the pain returns. Because we simply heat nerves that are not needed for normal functioning, this procedure is very safe and virtually free of any major side effects.
In medical terms, the rationale of percutaneous radiofrequency lumbar medial branch neurotomy is that, if it can be shown that a patient’s pain is mediated by a medial branch of a lumbar dorsal ramus, then that pain can be relieved by coagulating the nerve in order to prevent the conduction of nociceptive impulses along it. The essential indication for the procedure is: the complete relief of pain following controlled diagnostic blocks of the target medial branch.