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iSpine Discuss Has Facet Rhizotomy Helped Anyone? in the Main forums forums; Hi. I'm new to this forum and at 54 years of age suffered with neck pain for several years. ...

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Old 07-09-2011, 04:24 AM
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Question Has Facet Rhizotomy Helped Anyone?

Hi. I'm new to this forum and at 54 years of age suffered with neck pain for several years. X-rays, MRIs, and EMGs revealed deterioration and arthritis in C2 area. Surgery was not recommended and I was referred to a Pain Mgmt. facility. I had facet injections bilateral which gave short term relief but seemingly confirmed the problem area, and RF was recommended. I am 3 weeks out of facet rhizotomy and have experienced some notable side effects: Muscle spasms and cramps in back and calf (lower legs) areas. Tingling and numbness in upper leg joints. My neck feels stiff and so far that is the only difference. My pain was increased 100% following the procedure and it has diminished somewhat, but I still have as much or more of the same neck pain that I had before the procedures. Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time contacting the doctor to ask questions; his staff is a single nurse that is impossible to talk to when she does manage to return a phone call. I've asked the same questions 4-5 times and gotten no answers: Is it possible the RF wasn't hot enough? Can the procedure be repeated? Are there patients that realize absolutely no relief? What is the next step? I realize that 3 weeks is still early and it may take up to 6 weeks to realize benefits but I would very much appreciate hearing from others that have experienced a rhizotomy, especially so high in the prime real estate area of C2. Best wishes to those of you who are suffering or recovering from neck or back pain and surgical procedures. Thank you for reading my story. I'm hoping to hear someone out there has had some success with RF oblation.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:27 AM
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Its quite possible that they missed the appropriate spot with RF heat probe... Just a thought.....
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:51 PM
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Hi Robert,

I really can't comment on your specifics but did want to welcome you to the forum. I hope others can chime in and give you some of the answers you so need.

I will tell you, your doctors office should be more responsive to your questions. Don't know what your approach is but you might try something more forceful.

Good luck and welcome, Dale
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:13 PM
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Default Facet Ablation

Absolutely yes, but not radiofrequency....CT-Guided Laser worked for me.
-Jeff
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19+ years back pain w/ advancing disc degeneration.
2002-2 level lumbar IDET w/ Nucleoplasty (very unsuccessful; huge setback)
Three level lumbar Charite (L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1) with Dr. Zeegers in Munich, Germany: 2/25/05 (successful)
Two level cervical Mobi-C (C5/6, C6/7) 2/2/07 with Dr. Zeegers (successful)
Laser Facet Coagulation (left side: L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1 & sacral) 11/04/10 with Prof. Dr. Reul / Beta Klinik (significant reduction in remnant lumbar & sacral pain)
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:43 AM
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Default Nope

I had facet rhizotomy and it didn't help me at all. All the test blocks they did worked for about 1 1/2 weeks then all of those wonderful steriods and pain meds went by-by. They do that to test whether or not you are a candidate for rhizotomy. Sure you're going to feel better when they hit all leves of your neck, but then they only do 1-2 levels with rhizotomy. Which they failed to advised me before they had me hooked up to the IV sedation! Can you imagine that??? It was a waste of my money and time...
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female age 45, height 5"6", 145 lbds, non smoker, conservative treatments failed, (7/2007) C4/5/6 peek disc replacements,plate & screws failed fusion,
(9/2008) revision with bone replace plate and screws, (10/2009) C3/4 stand alone peek cage, (12/2010) facet joint injections C3-7, (1/2011) rhizotomy C6/7 failed, Trouble swallowing
most recent mri (7/2011) shows ajacent level issues: right neural foraminal narrowing C2/3, posterior bulge indents thecal sac at C6/7/T1 no mass effect on cord.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:38 PM
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Unhappy Thank you for your response!

Thanks to everyone that replied. Jeffrey, the laser coagulation has given me a new hope/option. Cheryl, sounds like we have some experience in common. I'm being pushed to have more injections to C3-C5 in preparation for another rhizotomy. Doctor said "Oh the C2 was to help your headaches, not the neck pain". Begining to feel like a head of cattle. Round 'em up, shoot 'em up, move 'em out, <Rawhide!> I don't see that many other options available to steroid/local 'baths' and burning. Very disappointed at this point.
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:42 AM
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Default Facet Rhizotomy

Hi Robert,

Yes I had it last summer and it was 100% successful. It took just over 8 weeks to take effect and lasted 10 months. However, 10 months later the pain came back with avengence. I had the procedure again 7/1/2011. That was seven and half weeks ago and I am still hurting a lot. I take 8 tramadol a day and wear a Butan pain patch. I swear the pain is worst this time after having the procedure done. I saw my pain doctor today and I told him I have been having muscle spasms all over my body. Even to the point of having involuntary reflexes, arm, leg shoulder movement. He says this is unrelated to the procedure but I am having a hard time swallowing that. I just noticed it shortly after the procedure took place this year.

Laura in Texas
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:53 PM
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I just wanted to welcome our 2 new members. I am sorry you are both here in the world of hurt. but welcome to a virtual friendship community (and not so much virtual at times).
Praying that you find some relief from this horrible life of pain
judy
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:08 AM
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I have never read anything good coming from RF ablations. It does harm and no good. It's a kickback procedure.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:05 AM
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I know many local patient who benefit from it.

Recent advances in RF technology and work of some doctor has enabled to use RF also for discogenic low back pain.

However, we in Croatia prefer:
1. Infiltrations
2. if successful, then dorsal endoscopic rhizotomy
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Co-Founder: Vertebris Internationl Spine Hospital
Founder: Spinoteka - Society for Spine Diseases
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