Lumbar Radiofrequency Neurotomy also called radiofrequency (RF) rhizotomy, this procedure reduces or stops pain in the spinal facets. A slight electric
current is used to cauterize the nerves innervating the painful facet joints.
This quick, minimally invasive procedure is usually performed with local anesthetic and sedation.
A needle like tube called a cannula is inserted and positioned near the targeted medial branch nerve. Fluoroscope X-ray pictures are used to ensure proper position of the cannula.
A radiofrequency electrode is inserted through the cannula. To make sure it is in the right location, a small amounts of electricity stimulates the area around the nerve.
To burn the nerve, the surgeon sends very high frequency electricity through the electrode to heat the nerve. Once one neurotomy is done, the surgeon may do the same procedure in one or more nerves.
After the procedure, the electrode and cannula are removed. There may be a slight increase in pain for about a week after the procedure but full relief from pain is usually felt within a month. Successful RF neurotomies last significantly longer than steroid injections or medial branch blocks.