Medial branch neurotomy in low back pain
This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of pulsed radiofrequency medial branch dorsal ramus neurotomy in patients with facet joint syndrome.
From January 2008 to April 2010, 92 patients with facet joint syndrome diagnosed by strict inclusion criteria and controlled diagnostic blocks undergone medial branch neurotomy. We did not exclude patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). Electrodes (20G) with 5-mm active tip were placed under fluoroscopy guide parallel to medial branch. Patients were followed up by physical examination and by Visual Analog Scale and Oswestry Disability Index at 1, 6, and 12 months.
In all cases, pain improvement was statistically significant and so quality of life. Three non-FBSS patients had to undergo a second neurotomy because of non-satisfactory pain decrease. Complications were reported in no case.
Medial branch radiofrequency neurotomy has confirmed its well-established effectiveness in pain and quality of life improvement as long as strict inclusion criteria be fulfilled and nerve ablation be accomplished by parallel electrode positioning. This statement can be extended also to FBSS patients.