DFW Spine Institute specializes in providing minimally invasive treatments to help relieve pain for patients in the Dallas area. A rhizotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that can reduce or eliminate back pain and may be used to treat facet joint disease and other pain conditions and sources of spinal joint pain.
What is Rhizotomy?
Rhizotomy, also known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), is a procedure to destroy the nerve roots that cause pain. Prior to recommending rhizotomy, a doctor will typically perform a series of diagnostic procedures or pain mapping in order to determine precisely which nerves may be responsible for pain. A patient may be advised to try injection treatments first which, if successful, can confirm which nerves are the source of pain. Rhizotomy may provide more complete or longer term relief than injection treatments.
What Should I Expect From a Rhizotomy Procedure?
Rhizotomy is an outpatient procedure and you will typically be awake, but given a mild IV sedative and local anesthetic to ensure your comfort. A mild electrical current may be used to confirm the correct location of the nerve. Your surgeon will use a needle to inject an electrode which will be used to cauterize the nerve root. Once the nerve root is destroyed, it is no longer able to send pain signals to your brain.
Results and Recovery from Rhizotomy
You may experience tenderness, tingling, and mild discomfort for several days after your rhizotomy. Optimal results will usually take effect 3 to 4 weeks after the procedure. A successful rhizotomy will stop the affected nerves from causing any pain until the nerve begins to grow back. Patients typically experience freedom from pain for six months to 2 years, at which point another rhizotomy may be performed.