, Volume 54, Issue 7, pp 737–744 | Cite as

Medial branch neurotomy in low back pain

  • Salvatore Masala
  • Giovanni NanoEmail author
  • Matteo Mammucari
  • Stefano Marcia
  • Giovanni Simonetti
Interventional Neuroradiology



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.


Radiofrequency neurotomy Low back pain Medial branch Failed back surgery syndrome Facet joint syndrome 


Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salvatore Masala
    • 1
  • Giovanni Nano
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Matteo Mammucari
    • 1
  • Stefano Marcia
    • 2
  • Giovanni Simonetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic and Molecular ImagingInterventional Radiology and Radiotherapy University “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Diagnostic and Molecular ImagingS. Giovanni di Dio HospitalCagliariItaly
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyUniversity “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly

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