A facet rhizotomy is a procedure involving placing a very small needle adjacent to the pain nerve fibers that originate near a facet joint, and placing a localized heat lesion in the nerve in order to treat your pain.
How is it done?
The procedure is performed under light IV sedation, with the patient sleepy, but awake. X-rays are used to find the position of the nerve, and a small needle is placed with the tip adjacent to the nerve itself. Initially, the nerve is stimulated with the electrode to insure that it is in the proper position. Once we are sure that the electrode is in the correct position, a heat lesion is then produced by heating up the tip of the electrode.
How long does it take?
The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes plus approximately 40 minutes of recovery time.
What are the risks?
The procedure is very safe, and the risks are similar to those expected with any type of needle-guided interventional procedure. The most common potential complications including bleeding, infection, or possibly nerve damage, although these are very unlikely.