Facet Joint Denervation: An Overview
What is the Facet Joint?
These are joints on each side of the vertebral bodies which provide stability and ability to bent and twist. These joints are located throughout the spine and are source of pain in large number of patients complaining of back or neck pain.
What is Denervation of Facet Joint?
Facet joint denervation procedure involves heating and burning the nerves supplying the joints with a special needle which has a special tip that could be heated. This procedure is done after you have had a good pain relief from a diagnostic test injection as a facet joint nerve block or medial branch block. This procedure works best if most of your pain is coming from your facet joints.
How is the procedure done?
This procedure is done either on OPD or day care bases and the procedure is done in operation theatre under X-Ray guidance. An IV line is placed and light sedation is given as the patient’s participation is required during the procedure. Under X-Ray guidance and local anaesthetic the needle is placed near the nerve supplying the facet joint and confirmed after passing small amount of current. Once the location is confirmed, the tip of the needle is heated by passing the electric current through a special machine.
This procedure is usually done at several locations.
What are the side effects?
The patient may feel increased pain for initial couple of days for which we prescribe the medication. Local area may have some bruising and pain which settles in two or three days and may require medication and or local ice pack application.