What Is Rhizotomy (RFTC) And Why Is It Helpful?

This procedure is done to treat pain caused by the facet joints by creating a lesion or burn in the facet nerve also known as the Medical Branch of the posterior primary ramus.

The purpose of RFTC of the medical branch is to decrease pain and improve function. This is done only if pain is relieved temporarily by facet joint injections and then by medical branch nerve blocks.

How Is It Done?

RFTC is accomplished by placing a special needle along side the facet joint under x-ray control. Following this, a controlled heat lesion is made to decrease the sensation of the facet joints. An intravenous solution may be started so that any medication or short acting sedative, if necessary, can be given during the procedure. The procedure will take approximately 20-60 minutes. You will then be monitored for an additional hour. All measures will be taken to ensure your comfort and safety. After you return home, you may use ice packs to relieve any discomfort.

General Pre/Post Instructions

You should eat a light meal within a few hours of your procedure. If you are an insulin dependent diabetic, do not change your normal eating pattern prior to the procedure. Please take your routine medications (i.e. high blood pressure and diabetic medications). If you are on Coumadin (blood thinners) or Glucophage (a diabetic medicine) you must notify this office so the timing of these medications can be explained.

A DRIVER MUST ACCOMPANY YOU and be responsible for getting you home. No driving allowed the day of the procedure. You may return to your normal activities the day after the procedure, including returning to work.

Potential Risks

Prior to this procedure, a written consent will be obtained that will include the possible risks and hazards. Certain effects are to be expected: bruising at the injection sites, soreness and swelling. Possible effects include: burning sensation at the injection site, numbness, itching and occasionally 2-3 weeks of increased pain. This is only temporary.

It is imperative that you be informed and have a full understanding of your treatment plan and of this procedure. If you have any questions, PLEASE contact us at (903) 592-6000 or toll free (866)755-6472, extension 1551, well in advance of your scheduled appointment so that we can clear any misconceptions and answer any other questions you may have.

Spine Physicians Institute treats back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, stenosis and other spine problems. Patients come to the spine center from across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Dr. Sethuraman is one of few Mayo Clinic fellowship-trained spine surgeons in the North Texas area. A fellowship is the highest level of medical education in the U.S.

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