Facet Joints are the joints between the vertebrae in your spine that allow flexibility in the back. Facet Joints can be damaged from inflammatory conditions such as degenerative arthritis of aging, injury or rheumatoid arthritis.
It is a minimally invasive procedure done under x-ray guidance to figure out whether a patient would benefit from a subsequent procedure such as Facet Denervation usually done using radiofrequency energy.
At the affected joint(s), the doctor will find the medial branch nerves and inject a local anesthetic. If this test of the nerve alleviates the pain, even temporarily, then Facet Denervation may be the right procedure for you.
The Fact Denervation Procedure is very similar to the diagnostics process but takes some more time to complete. Instead of just using a local anesthetic that temporarily alleviates the pain, the doctor uses radiofrequency with a special needle to lesion the pain-carrying nerves. This is also a minimally invasive outpatient procedure done under x-ray guidance and may result in pain relief lasting many months.
Facet denervation can be performed in cervical, thoracic or lumbo-sacral areas as indicated.
What happens during the procedure?
Your doctor will use an x-ray machine to locate the pain-carrying nerves. Initially, the skin will be numbed, the nerves located and tested with stimulation Your doctor will then numb the affected nerves and then use a heated needle to lesion these nerve that were carrying the pain sensation.
Will I Lose Function or Sensation?
It is important to remember that these nerves are only there to carry the pain signals to the brain. Thus you should not lose function or sensation after a denervation procedure.
Will I Feel Any Pain After the Procedure?
Some patients may feel some pain up to two weeks after the procedure. For this, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant or pain medication and physical therapy to reduce pain and improve function.