Facet joint denervation is the process of deadening the medial branch nerves that provide pain signals to a facet joint. Facet joints, which are the knobby surfaces where adjacent vertebrae are joined together, can begin to deteriorate after years of use, and nerve irritation is a common by-product of facet joint deterioration.
Each vertebra in the cervical (upper), thoracic (middle), and lumbar (lower) spine has a set of facet joint surfaces on the right side and left side. Conditions like facet joint osteoarthritis can cause cartilage around facet joints can wear away. Without the smooth cartilage in place, raw bone surfaces must rub directly against each other. The resulting friction can irritate a facet joint’s medial branch nerves, causing chronic pain.
Since medial branch nerves have one main function – to deliver pain signals to facet joints – these nerves can be safely removed. Once the inflamed medial branch nerves are gone, the pain goes away too, and facet joints are still fully functional.
Laser Spine Institute (LSI) offers a facet joint denervation procedure called facet thermal ablation. During this procedure, our surgeon makes a small incision in the affected area of the spine and uses a small laser to deaden, or burn away, the pain nerves feeding into the damaged facet joint. LSI’s facet thermal ablation is performed on an outpatient basis with local anesthesia and deep IV sedation.
If you would like to find out more about the benefits of facet joint denervation, contact Laser Spine Institute (LSI) today. Let us review your MRI or CT scam, completely free of charge, to determine if you would be a good candidate for our revolutionary endoscopic procedures.