During this minimally invasive procedure, the physician uses heat from radio waves to treat painful facet joints in your lower back. It can treat pain that doesn't respond to medications or physical therapy.
You lie on your stomach and you are given medicine to make you feel relaxed. The skin and tissue of your back are numb.The physician inserts a tube called a cannula. A video x-ray device called a fluoroscope to guide the cannula to the medial branch nerves in your spine. These tiny nerves carry pain signals from the facet joints to the brain.
The physician inserts an electrode through the cannula. A weak electric jolt is used to test its position, if the jolt recreates the pain but does not cause any other muscular effects, then it is in the correct position.
Then the physician uses the electrode to heat the nerve. This disrupts the nerves' ability to transmit pain. Several nerves may be treated together if necessary.
When the procedure is complete, the electrode and cannula are removed and a small bandage is placed on your skin. You are monitored for a brief time before you are allowed to go home. The injection site may be a bit sore, and you may still experience back pain. If the correct nerves were treated, you will gradually experience pain relief as you heal. This may take many weeks, but your relief may last several months.