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Updates for Charry . RFA anyone

Starting my own thread here. I went for Diagnostic Facet joint injections with no steroids to see if I'm a candidate for RFA(radio frequency ablation) nerve burn for my lumbar sacral area from L3-S2. I had 8 injections. I felt some relief from a 5 down to a 2 after so hopefully I will see the Dr. in September and he will let me know if RFA is right for me.

Supposedly he gave me conscious sedation but it didn't help during these injections were the most painful and said during the RFA I would get better sedation as I had the limit allowable for an Anesthetist to give. My right leg and foot went to sleep for 2 hours so had to stay until I could walk again.

I hope this works as I don't qualify for any surgery although it would be nice to get this bone spur removed!

Had x-rays for my neck due to numbness and weakness in my arm and hand and have to follow up with my Dr. about this.

I'm moving to a smaller apt. as this one is way too big for me to manage anymore. So now the end of this year I will have to give up my position at the hospital to collect my pension but was hoping after four and a half years I would have somehow improved to go back to work but seems it just won't happen for me.

Anyone have any results from RFA please share. Thanks. Charry
DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN


  • Hi Charry.

    I'm assuming RFA and rhizotomy are essentially the same thing. I had right SI joint abalation in Dec 2011. The doc made 5 lesions. I had tremendous pain and hypersensitivity on right posterior, believed to be a result of my iliac crest bone graft site from previous fusions and severe arthritic degeneration of my SI joints. From what I understand, most surgeons don't 'clean up' the graft site once they remove the marrow they need. They don't smooth the bone out or anything and for many people, the graft site is the most painful and takes the longest to heal after the surgery. In my case, they used my right iliac crest for 2 of my 3 fusions).

    I had really good success with the rhizo. During the procedure, I was given conscious sedation as well. I'm not going to lie, it's painful, but not do-able. My right side pain is now about a 3 on average (keeping in mind that I also have facet degeneration and foraminal stenosis which contribute to the pain). Afterwards, I was in a lot of pain for about 5 days (swollen and bruised). It generally takes about 3 - 4 weeks for the nerves to fully 'deaden'. Before the abalation, I couldn't even touch or put any pressure on the area around my graft site. Now, it's basically numb.

    In March of this year, I had the left SI joint done. Completely different experience! This time, he only did 3 lesions. The procedure itself was extremely painful. I was in tears, begging for more and more sedation. I was in agony for 2 weeks afterwards. The end result was nothing like the right side. I think it worked a bit, maybe dropped pain levels from a 7 to 5.5/6 at best. But, I also have bulging disks, osteophytes, annular tear and mild L4 nerve root impingement on the left side, so probably why it didn't work as well. SI wasn't the main pain source on that side.

    Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you want to know anything else about my experience. My fingers are crossed for you. Keep me posted, ok? Best, Marni
  • When talking about first rhizo on the right side, meant to say "I'm not going to lie, it's painful, but doable". Sorry about that.
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 09/16/2012 - 5:14 AM
    I had RF on c2 and c3 with great success. Mine was done for headaches and so far now its been almost a year and still doing well. I also had some lumbar RF done but would have to look up which ones. In my case the RF didn't last very long because of all the other issues going on in the lumbar area. I would say it is very much worth a try with a SKILLED DOCTOR that performs them all the time.
    Good Luck and I hope it helps
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