Cervical Rhizotomy

A cervical rhizotomy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat neck pain that comes from the facet joints. It is sometimes called a radiofrequency ablation or abbreviated as RFA. The facet joints are joints that work as hinges connecting the bones of the spinal column together. The facet joint has a fluid that acts as a lubricant and helps with bending of the spine. The facet joints can produce a deep aching pain when the joint is damaged, either from wear and tear, advanced age, or injury or trauma.

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Cervical Rhizotomy Treated Conditions

  • Arthritis – Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and a limited range of motion in the joints. A Cervical Rhizotomy procedure involves using heat to target specific nerve tissues in order to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. 
  • Herniated discs – Herniated discs are characterized by a slipped or ruptured disc in the spine. This rupture can occur due to wear and tear over time or from a single traumatic event. Among the various treatments available, cervical rhizotomy can help deal with chronic neck or arm pains accompanied by this condition. 
  • Spinal stenosis – Spinal stenosis is a medical disorder in which the spinal canal becomes narrow due to the presence of bone or tissue, leading to nerve compression and pain.  
  • Degenerative spine conditions – Degenerative spine conditions involve a deterioration of both structure and function in the spine. These degenerations are brought about by age-related wear and tear instead of being caused by infection, outside trauma, or other conditions. 
  • Trigeminal neuralgia – Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that causes a pain similar to an electric shock on one side of the face. This chronic pain affects the trigeminal nerve, which transports sensation from the face to the brain. 
  • Pain in joints – Pain in various joints is a common condition that affects many people. This can be the result of intense physical activity, sprains or strains, and isn’t necessarily indicative of an underlying disease.  
  • Other conditions affecting the peripheral nerves – Your peripheral nerves originate from your brain and spinal cord, branching out to all areas of your body, including muscles and organs. There are many things that can damage nerves and result in peripheral nerve disorders including (but not limited to): diabetes, physical injury, Autoimmune diseases, certain cancers and their treatments, kidney or liver disease and more. 

Why Lonseth Interventional Pain Centers?

Lonseth Interventional Pain Centers is the ideal choice for Cervical Rhizotomy treatment as we provide a comprehensive, individualized approach to care. Our board-certified physicians and highly trained staff specialize in treating a wide variety of spine disorders and have extensive experience performing Cervical and Lumbar Rhizotomies.  

Cervical Rhizotomy FAQ

Preparing for a cervical rhizotomy requires a complete physical exam and a detailed history of your medical condition. Your doctor will likely begin with an imaging test, such as an MRI, to determine the exact location of the nerve roots that need to be treated. Before the procedure, you may also need to stop taking certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs.  

Cervical Rhizotomy can be performed with local anesthesia and sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the patient’s preference. Using fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray), the surgeon makes a small incision and guides a metal dilator towards the facet joint over facet dorsal medial branch nerves. Through an endoscope connected to a small camera, the surgeon inserts a radiofrequency probe into the scope to ablate (remove) these nerves, which effectively severs the pain signal from your neck to your brain. 

Following the procedure, patients can typically return to work and normal activities the following day. Patients are often advised to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for 1-2 days. Some may experience slight discomfort, bruising, or soreness after a rhizotomy treatment. It’s common for these symptoms to linger for a few days to up to a few weeks. Icing the area and over-the-counter pain relievers are usually sufficient in reducing these symptoms.