Lumbar Radiofrequency Neurotomy

Lumbar Radiofrequency Neurotomy, which is also called radiofrequency rhizotomy, is used to reduce or eliminate pain in the spinal facets and eliminating the pain signals that travel through the medial nerve branches. A light electrical discharge is used to cut off the nerve, which joins the painful facet joint. Lumbar Radiofrequency Neurotomy is a short, minimally invasive procedure done under local anesthesia. A tube-like needle, called a cannula is introduced with the help of fluoroscopy near the appropriate medial nerve branch.

A radiofrequency electrode is inserted through the cannula. Then to make sure that electrode is in correct position, a small electrical signal stimulates the site. If the stimulation causes only pain without other any muscular effects, then the electrode is in right position. To cut the nerve; electricity is conducted through the electrode, which warms up the nerve. After the radiofrequency neurotomy is complete, the physician will repeat the procedure for any remaining nerves. At the end of the neurotomy both cannula and electrode are removed.

During a week after Lumbar Radiofrequency Neurotomy the pain may increase, but by the end of the month the patient will be fully relieved. Successful radiofrequency neurotomy may last longer than a steroid block.


Possible side-effects are comparable with side-effects of a simple injection: patient may have allergic reactions, bacterial infection or bleeding, which occurs rarely.

It is very important that the patient inform the physician about pregnancy or if he/she is taking blood thinning medication.