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Facet Joint Rhizotomy


Facet rhizotomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that essentially “turns off” the pain signals associated with inflamed facet joints, the connections between the vertebrae in the spine. The facet joints can become inflamed in response to an injury or arthritis. When the facet joints in the neck or cervical spine are affected, the patient may experience pain in the neck, shoulders or mid-back, headaches and difficulty rotating their head. Patients with inflamed lower back facet joints may feel pain in the lower back, buttocks and thighs, as well as stiffness and difficulty standing upright.

During the procedure, the technician uses local anesthetic and X-ray imaging to guide an electrode-tipped needle into position alongside the small nerves to the facet joint. Radiofrequency is then used to deaden the nerves that carry pain signals to the brain. The effects of the procedure typically last for 6 months to 2 years.

Candidates for facet rhizotomy will have experienced positive results from facet injections. This helps the physician pinpoint the location of the offending fact joint and confirm that the facet joint is the source of the pain and not a result of a structural defect or other condition. The physicians at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery can help determine if you are a candidate for facet rhizotomy treatment.