What is a rhizotomy?

Rhizotomy is a procedure in which radiofrequency waves are used to generate heat that interrupts and destroys nerves.

What are the goals of a rhizotomy?

The goals of a rhizotomy are:

  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function

How will a rhizotomy help my condition?

Rhizotomy is a therapeutic procedure designed to decrease and/or eliminate pain symptoms. The procedure involves destroying nerves that are present in the affected joints with highly localized heat generated with radiofrequency. By destroying these nerves, the communication link that signals pain from the spine to the brain can be broken.

What happens during a rhizotomy?

You will remain awake for the entire procedure. Once in the procedure suite:

  • An intravenous (IV) line may be started prior to the injection.
  • You will be positioned lying face down.
  • The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • A local anesthetic will be used to numb the injection site.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You may feel pressure while the medication is injected.

How long is the procedure?

The procedure lasts about 25 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.