Neurotomy is a procedure which involves surgical removal or freezing of the sensory nerve tissues to relieve the patient from the chronic pain caused in the neck and back. The most popular type of neurotomy procedure is Radiofrequency neurotomy where radio waves are used to generate heat to cause temporary degeneration of the targeted nerves and to disrupt their ability to release pain signals. The radio waves are transmitted to the specific nerves using needles which are injected through the skin above the patient’s spine. The doctors use imaging scans during the radiofrequency neurotomy to make out the right position for placing the needles.
Radiofrequency neurotomy is done by the specialized doctors who have the requisite knowledge and skills in treating pain. Other than the neck pain, the procedure is also recommended for your back pain which:• Arises on either or both the sides of your lower back • Becomes worse when you lift or twist something• Extends into your thighs and buttock region but not generally past the knees• Gets better when you are lying down
Before the procedure, the doctor may do one test to make sure that the nerves targeted for the procedure are the ones responsible for pain. During this test, your doctor will inject a small dose of anesthesia into the exact place where he/she will inject the radiofrequency needles. If you feel that the pain is significantly reduced, then radiofrequency treatment will be of help to you. Besides, before the procedure you are advised not to:• Chew tobacco products • Use perfumes, deodorants or lotions while going for the treatment• Use mixed liquids for taking medicines
It is an outpatient surgery which means you will be given discharge from hospital right after the treatment and your recovery. The procedure usually doesn’t take more than an hour. You will be made to lie down on an X-ray table where a special X-ray machine called fluoroscope will help your doctor to position the needles at a precise location. An intravenous line (IV) will be fixed to your hand/arm to deliver medicine which will keep you relaxed during the procedure. After numbing the area, the radiofrequency needles will be injected into your skin.
Once the procedure is finished, you’ll be shifted to the rest room so that you can feel comfortable and recover quickly to go home. After you reach home:• Deter from using heat pad on the injected spot.• Don’t take baths for two days; however you may take a warm shower a day after the surgery.• If you notice some soreness, then apply ice packs 3-4 times within 24 hours after the surgery.
Risk And Complications
Side effects that can be commonly seen:• Pain• Temporary numbness at the injected site Side effects that are rarely seen:• Infection• Bleeding• Nerve damage• Paralysis