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Rhizotomy and why they are needed

The human spine is made up of many independent parts. Most people are aware of the existence of vertebrae and the intervertebral disc material, but they only make up a portion of the entire spine. One of the parts of the spine that is not often discussed unless there is an injury or disease that affects them are the facet joints. These are the small joints that link the vertebrae together and help to stabilize the spine. Without them, the spine would fall over backward.

If any type of injury occurs in the facet joints, it can put pressure on a nearby nerve. This can cause severe pain and other symptoms, such as numbness and tingling. This type of issue is sometimes referred to as facet joint syndrome, but it can occur for any number of different reasons. In some cases, it is an injury that occurs to the facet joint and it causes the pain and other symptoms you are experiencing. Osteoarthritis can also cause damage to the facet joints and create the uncomfortable symptoms as well.

There may be several treatments available if you are suffering from facet joint syndrome but one that is commonly considered is a rhizotomy. This is not a surgical procedure that many people are aware of or familiar with, but it can help to stabilize the spine and reduce the pain you are experiencing. The pain associated with facet joint syndrome can occur in any part of the spine. Some of the more communal areas include the neck and the lower back. What many people don’t realize is that the symptoms are not only limited to the area where the facet joint exists, they can also travel along the nerve and occur in other parts of the body as well.

If the diagnosis is facet joint syndrome, then the doctor is going to offer some options for treatment. If you want the best care possible in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can choose Dr. Dickerman. As a board-certified neurosurgeon, he handles many procedures that can help to alleviate some of the pain that you are experiencing with the spine. This would include a rhizotomy if that type of surgery is necessary.

When you visit Dr. Rob Dickerman, you will be provided with tests that determine if problems exist with the facet joints or if it is another issue. These can include an x-ray, MRI or a facet joint injection. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis so that the proper procedures can be suggested. In some cases, strengthening the nearby muscles or various lifestyle changes can be considered to help reduce the pain. This might even include pain management through medication. In other cases, a rhizotomy may be necessary.

The facet rhizotomy is not always the first choice but in some cases, it may be the option that will help to reduce your pain if you experience facet joint syndrome. One other option could be a facet joint injection that may provide temporary relief to the pain. It does so immediately because of medications that are included in the injection, and then steroids help to reduce the swelling and relieve some pain as well. For a more permanent solution, however, a facet rhizotomy or radiofrequency rhizotomy may be necessary.

A facet rhizotomy is not going to provide permanent relief but in many cases, it will reduce or eliminate the pain for six months or perhaps even longer. It is a procedure that can be done every six months or so and it only takes about 30 minutes for it to be completed. During the procedure, a needle will be put into the area of the facet joint using x-rays as guidance. An electrode is then put into the area and electrical currents can be sent so that you feel the pain as if you were moving about. Once confirmation is given that the right spot is targeted, the electrode is heated, and the nerve is burnt. This will temporarily stop the nerve from sending pain signals.

Any type of back pain can be debilitating but there are often options to help reduce the pain you are experiencing. In the Dallas Fort Worth area, you can contact Dr. Rob Dickerman and get the necessary help to get back on your feet again. He may offer options that could include a rhizotomy but there may be other options available as well to help you feel better.

Related: Procedures

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