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. To learn more about how a facet thermal ablation is performed and whether it may be effective in easing your chronic pain and discomfort, read the following article.

How a facet thermal ablation is performed

During a facet thermal ablation, the surgeon goes through the following steps to perform the procedure:

  1. First, a very small incision is made right over the affected joint
  2. The surgeon then inserts a series of tubes into the incision to provide working access to the joint and nerve
  3. The final step is for the nerve to 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. Due to the small incision and Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive techniques, recovery time is shorter than traditional open spine surgery and hospital-associated costs are reduced.^ 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 facet thermal ablation 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 intermittent periods of rest, low-impact exercise, chiropractic care, physical therapy and over-the-counter pain medication.

If several weeks or months of conservative treatment have not brought relief from your painful and debilitating symptoms, you may be a candidate for the minimally invasive facet thermal ablation procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute in conjunction with our decompression surgery. Our board-certified surgeons+ have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck or back pain.

At Laser Spine Institute, our outpatient procedures use a less than 1-inch incision that does not unnecessarily disrupt the muscles and ligaments near the spine, allowing our patients to quickly return to the activities they have been missing out on. Contact us today for your free MRI review* to determine if our facet thermal ablation surgery would be effective for you.