What Is Lumbar Rhizotomy?

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Lumbar rhizotomy is a procedure used to alleviate back pain caused by the facet joints, which control movement between the vertebrae. Nerve impingement within these joints can cause lower back pain.

Procedure

  • Stunning the nerve that is causing pain is accomplished with a thin electrode. Lumbar rhizotomy is usually an outpatient procedure, and general anesthetic is used during the procedure.

Reason

  • Rhizotomy is used to alleviate back pain to avoid needing to perform a more invasive procedure such as a laminectomy or a foraminotomy. The nerves that are stunned are not important to normal body function, according to My-Spine.com.

Recovery

  • You may have pain for up to three weeks after the procedure. Rest and exercise are crucial after the rhizotomy.

Time Frame

  • Lumbar rhizotomy does not permanently cure pain, and it will need to be repeated when pain returns. The procedure can be repeated indefinitely.

Warning

  • Not all patients are helped by rhizotomy. The success rate is between 40 and 75 percent, according the My-Spine.com.

References

  • Photo Credit "Spare Ribs" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: SubZeroConsciousness (Andrew Barden) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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