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RFA and Rhizotomy,

Darrell ODDarrell O Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Pain Management
Is there a difference? Scheduled for a Rhizotomy tomorrow morning, really nervous!!


  • I have had quite a few rhizotomys. I know it is scary but try not to be too concerned. It will be uncomfortable for just a few minutes but almost as soon as the pain starts the doc will numb the nerve. I have had great success with this is the past so the benefits made it well worth going through the procedure for me. How many levels are you having done?
  • I had one a week ago. As far as I know, they are the same procedure. I declined the IV sedation they offered and just had a mild sedative. I am a bit of a chicken but this wasn't as bad (to me) as my epidural spinals were. I watched the floroscope (sp?) while they did the procedure - it helped me seperate myself from the event. So far, I'm doing fine. As others have suggested, I am not expecting anything for several weeks until the nerves die. Good luck. Will be thinking of you! Kathy
  • To the best of my knowledge the radiofrequency disrupts the nerves that carry pain signals. A rhizotomy actually severs the nerves. I don't think that the radiofrequency procedure is any where near as effective as a rhizotomy. You should always be awake for the rhizotomy. The doc will stimulate the nerves until the one that is causing the pain is stimulated. You must be able to communicate when he hits the right nerve. It is painful but as soon as you indicate that it is the correct nerve it is immediately numbed and burned. My doc has told me that the docs that sedate the patient first are doing a great dis service to the patient. He said it is like working in the dark or taking a guess at where the pain is coming from. Just remember ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off will help once the numbness wears off. It will help a great deal with the inflammation. Good luck and let us know how you make out.
  • Hi JJ GREY,I assume I am only having the one procedure done (both sides), which was this morning at 7:30. I was sedated for the procedure. I asked him if he knew what nerve he was doig (just a joke with him) He said that since I had such good results with media branch nerve block I had a week ago he knew which nerve to target.
    Right now I am still a little woozy, and I hope that it works. The only thing that's on my mind right now, is that in four weeks I go in for a follow up with the Doctor, to discuss the results and a Spinal Cord Implant Stimulator.? Does this seam right? If the Rhizotomy gives some relief why the Stimulator implant?
  • I guess I was expecting to much..thought that as soon as left the PM doctors office I would feel no pain or at least a lack of...Just woke up from my trip home...and still have the same ol pain...do I understand you right that it would be a couple of weeks before I feel any results?? And like I posted earlier he still wants to do a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant...I have an appointment Dec 17th to discuss this with him??
  • you will get such good results with the rhizotomy that you will not need an SCS. Don't give up on the rhizotomy yet. I remember the first time that I had one done I was very depressed because I thought that it did not work. Boy was I pleasantly surprised at the 4 week mark when my pain started to improve. I did not get full results until week 4-6. The nerve will not die right away and it won't go down without a fight! I think that it is very wise of your doc to wait until the 4 week point to discuss and SCS. SCS is for nerve pain and there are lots of folks here that have had great results with it. I think that it is a great sign that your doc is exploring all options and willing to do what it takes to give you some pain relief. Also, I have been with my current doc for a little more than 4 years now. He is the first doc that did not give up on me and hand me a bottle of pills and say that's the best that I can do. So I really think that it is great for a doc to go the extra mile as there are many out there that will not. Good luck and do keep us posted.
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