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Not sure if this is the right place to ask this question. My latest back surgery was in Dec 2011 and things were going pretty okay, until they weren't with my recovery and I have this acute chronic sciatic pain but MRI didn't show too alarming that would explain why. So my neurosurgeon wants me to try basically up to 3 injections and if they fail to look into the nerv-stim which I'm not too thrilled about. I wear a TENS unit pretty much constantly and don't see any great reviews of the nerv-stim that encourage me to think it would have any better effects.

Anyway, I've heard a bit about Rhizotomy and was thinking about it as maybe a preliminary step to a nerv-stim. I've had injection 1, with no effect, injection 2 is on Thursday and I'm going to ask the anesthesiologist a bit more about this as an option. Has anyone here had the Rhizotomy procedure done? And what effect did you have? How much relief did you have from your nerve pain? Etc.

Any feedback would be appreciated going into my appointment on Thursday.

Thanks :)


  • Hi there. I'm so sorry you're suffering. I've had right and left side SI Rhizotomies. The procedure is done under fluoro and conscious sedation. Essentially the the doc abalates the nerves in either your SI joints or facet joints (depending what you are having done) by making microscopic legions using very high intesity RF frequency. In my case, the doctor did 5 levels of legions on my right side and 3 on my left. I'm not going to lie, the procedure can be extremely painful. The pain worsens for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and you're pretty swollen (sometimes bruised as well). They say it can take up to a month before for the procedure to really take effect (for the nerves fully 'deaden'), but if it works, the relief can last up to a year, at which point, you can have it done again. For me, I had good success with the right side. The abalation itself was painful, but not excruciating. Overall, it reduced my pain by about 35 - 40% in that area. Prior to the procedure, I had such hypersensitivity to touch, even a gentle rub over that spot sent me to the roof. Now, it's still basically numb. The post-procedure pain lasted just over a week. However, I didn't have the same experience when they did my left side. The procedure itself was agonizing and the post-pain was severe, lasting close to 3 weeks. I don't really feel much of an improvement - maybe 5% if anything.

    Are the 3 injections you are having right now the trial for a rhizotomy? That's what they did with me. As a test, they injected a local (not cortisone because they wanted to the short effect of the Marcaine) into my SI joints three weeks in a row to see if the freezing gave me temporary relief - at least 2 of the 3 times needed a positive result before proceeding with the rhizotomy.

    Hope this helps! Good luck, I feel for you.
  • janiskijjaniski Posts: 679
    edited 08/22/2012 - 4:21 PM
    I have had many rhyzotomies and have never had much relief from them. They work for some people and not for others. Always worth a try tho. You never know what might work for you.

    Good luck.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • brvsfan99bbrvsfan99 Posts: 113
    edited 09/29/2012 - 12:21 AM
    In my L5/S1 area on the left side. I had post-procedure pain for 3-4 days. The procedure itself lasted about a week and then all the pain came back 5 times worse. Everyone is different so you may not have the same experience.

    Single level L5/S1 360 fusion with 6 screws and a rod (10/29/12)
    Diagnosis: Grade 1-2 spondylolithesis, Pars Defect, L5/S1 disc tear anterior and posterior, DDD, spinal stenosis
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