The International Spine Centre

12 Walter Street, North Adelaide South Australia 5006
P: (08) 8239-1889
F: (08) 8239-2203

For all appointments during working hours
please ring

(08) 8239 1889

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Facet Denervation (Rhyzolysis) (Percutaneous Denervation of the Facet Joint by Radiofrequency Waves)

This minimally invasive pain management procedure is indicated in patients suffering from spinal pain which may have been relieved temporarily by facet injections and/or spinal blocks targeting one or more spinal motion segments.

 Facet rhyzolysis involves the percutaneous insertion of a thin probe just lateral to the facet joint in the area of emergence of the median branch of the posterior primary ramus (nerve) supplying sensation to the facet joint. It is carried out under neuroleptic intravenous sedation (“twilight anaesthetic”) supplemented by local anaesthetic in the area of insertion of the probe and does not generally require overnight Hospital Stay.

The Medical Practitioner carrying out the procedure uses Radiological equipment (fluoroscopy/image intensifier or CT scan) to monitor the correct position of the probe/s.

 The active probe is left for approximately two minutes near each selected joint with the radiofrequency (RF) wave producing discrete heat of up to 90° centigrade at its’ tip which “numbs” the small nerves supplying sensation to the chosen spinal motion segment.

 The patient is discharged an hour or so after completion of the procedure with a small dressing over the site of entry of the probe and which should be generally kept for two days.

 Facet rhyzolysis can result in temporary exacerbation of spinal pain for a few days. Approximately 80% of patients report significant improvement of their pre-operative spinal pain for a period varying between six months and two years.

 Facet rhyzolysis is a minimally invasive and very safe procedure and in my extensive personal experience of over two thousand patients, I have not yet observed any permanent nerve damage or other serious complications.  I am aware however, that in the International Literature there is anecdotal evidence of  rare incidences of significant and permanent nerve damage.  It is important therefore, for everyone to realise that, as for any other human activities, irrespective of the minimally invasive and extremely safe nature of this procedure, complications can, even if only very rarely, occur.

 If facet rhyzolysis is successful in relieving the patient’s spinal symptoms for six months or longer, it can be repeated on a regular basis and generally with similar satisfactory results and with no increased risk of complications.

 Please feel free to discuss any issues and/or concerns that you may have with Dr Osti before undergoing the procedure.

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