Facet Rhizotomy Injection

A facet rhizotomy injection is a minimally invasive procedure that attempts to relieve neck or back pain associated with facet disease by using an electrical current to destroy local nerve fibers carrying pain signals from the affected joint to the brain. This procedure usually follows successful facet joint injections, which use cortisone to temporarily deaden an irritated joint nerve.

Patients who undergo a facet rhizotomy injection may have a variety of degenerative spine conditions, including facet disease, spinal stenosis or arthritis of the spine. While these conditions often are asymptomatic, they sometimes produce localized pain, radiating pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the areas of the body innervated by the affected nerve.

Areas of the body affected by facet joint disorders

The backbone consists of 33 stacked vertebrae – seven in the cervical (neck) region, 12 in the thoracic (upper and middle back) region, five in the lumbar (lower back) region and nine fused vertebrae in the sacrum (pelvis) and coccyx (tailbone). Most of these vertebrae are connected at the facet joints, which occur in pairs on either side of the vertebral body. While the spine is relatively immobile when compared to other joints in the body, years of vertebral flexion and extension can take a toll. The areas of the body affected by facet joint-related symptoms are related to the location in the spine of the joint degeneration:

  • Cervical facet joints – shoulders, upper back, arms, hands, fingers
  • Thoracic facet joints – ribcage, middle back, torso
  • Lumbar facet joints – lower back, buttocks, upper legs

When a facet rhizotomy injection is not enough

Because some nerves regenerate over time, there is a chance symptoms might return after a facet rhizotomy injection. For more effective and long-lasting relief, tens of thousands of patients have turned to Laser Spine Institute. Laser Spine Institute’s orthopedic surgeons perform minimally invasive procedures to provide lasting relief from neck and back pain. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more, and to receive a review of your MRI or CT scan.