What is the role of radiofrequency (RF) medial branch neurotomy in the treatment of low back pain (LBP)?

Updated: Aug 22, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Answer

When facets are determined to be primary pain generators by MBBs, options for long-term relief include radiofrequency (RF) lesioning, cryoneuroablation, and chemical neurolysis (usually using phenol). These techniques act to denervate the painful joint. RF neurotomy is widely advocated and has been more scrutinized than other techniques in recent literature reviews. Percutaneous radiofrequency (RF) neurotomy of the medial branches causes temporary denaturing of the nerves to the painful facet, but this effect may wear off when axons regenerate. Evidence to support the efficacy and durability of cryodenervation and chemical neurolysis cannot be found in the available literature.


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