Facet thermal ablation

Facet thermal ablation is a minimally invasive surgical procedure offered at Laser Spine Institute used to treat arthritic, injured or degenerative facet joints.

The facet joints link the vertebrae together and enable forward movement, backward motion and twisting of the spine. Over time, as cartilage and connective tissues in the facet joints lose elasticity and begin to wear away, the bony parts of the joint can rub together, causing limited mobility and a number of painful symptoms.

Often, in an attempt to repair and protect themselves, facet joints develop growths called bone spurs that can press against spinal nerves and cause painful symptoms. The aim of a facet thermal ablation is to deaden the affected local nerve and clean off the joint with a laser.

How a facet thermal ablation is performed

During a facet thermal ablation the surgeon uses the following steps to perform the procedure:

• A very small incision is made right over the affected joint
• The surgeon then inserts a series of tubes into the incision to provide working access to the joint and nerve
• The nerve will then be burned away using a laser, with the surgeon using a camera and other micro-instruments to assist.

Since the irritated nerve is deadened during the procedure, patients often feel relief immediately following facet thermal ablation. And, thanks to the small incision and Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive techniques, recovery time is shorter than traditional open spine surgery. Since the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis there is also no hospitalization required^. This is a big advantage compared to traditional open back surgery, which typically requires several days of hospitalization and months of recuperation time.

How to know if this procedure can help you

Those diagnosed with facet disease, facet joint syndrome, facet hypertrophy or any other degenerative facet joint condition should know there are a number of conservative therapies that have been shown to effectively treat symptoms. Commonly prescribed treatments include rest, exercise, physical therapy and over-the-counter medication.

If several months of conservative treatment have not brought relief from your painful and debilitating symptoms, you may be a candidate for one of the minimally invasive procedures at Laser Spine Institute, including facet thermal ablation. Our highly skilled surgeons have helped over 75,000 patients find relief from neck or back pain.Contact us today for your no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.