What is rhizolysis for?

What is rhizolysis and what is it for?

Rhizolysis is a non-invasive outpatient surgical technique for the treatment of back pain, whether in the cervical, dorsal or lumbar region. It is used for the treatment of facet pain, that is, back pain caused by inflammation and/or damage to the facet nerves (nerve endings that transmit pain between one vertebra and another).

How is rhizolysis applied?

It is a technique that is performed in the operating room, with local anesthesia (and sometimes with sedation). It consists of making several punctures in the area of the spine to be treated, placing a needle and applying radiofrequency to the specific facet nerve with the approximate duration of one minute per stimulus. It is performed under radiological control.

How many sessions are necessary for it to take effect?

Usually with a first session the patient usually presents improvement of the pain. If the pain is recurrent, the technique can be performed again or other treatment options can be considered. It should be considered that, once the rhizolysis is performed, the effect of the same usually takes between 2-3 weeks to appear in its entirety, recommending a control in the consultation a month after the intervention.

When is facet, lumbar or cervical rhizolysis indicated?

It is performed when there is pain in the back due to facet overload due to irritation of the facet nerves. In most cases, it is related to other degenerative processes of the cervical, dorsal or lumbar spine, such as discopathies associated with disc protrusions and/or herniated discs.

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Does this technique involve any type of risk?

It is a non-invasive and ambulatory procedure of minimal risk, compared to the benefits we can obtain from it. The risks that could exist (although infrequent) would be hemorrhage, infection and/or irritation of the leg nerve. These risks are minimized as the technique is performed under aseptic conditions in the operating room and with neurophysiological control at all times. There is constant communication between the specialist who performs the technique and the patient, so the technique is very safe.

What is the postoperative period for rhizolysis?

The procedure is ambulatory and the patient can usually be discharged one hour after the procedure. Relative rest is recommended for the rest of the day and no major physical exertion for the next 2-3 days. Most patients can return to their normal life (including work) the day after the procedure.

The patient may notice discomfort at the puncture site, which is usually of short duration. Analgesics and local ice are recommended. The final result of the technique may take two to three weeks to take effect. A follow-up with the specialist is recommended in approximately 1 month to check the effectiveness of the technique.