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painintheback: about the RHIZOTOMY

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Lower Back Pain

I went to get the medial branch block for diagnostic purposes before my rhizotomy. (3 days ago). The dr. shot L4-5 and I still had that horrible hip pain and limp. The guy was SURE it was from L4-5. So he took me back in and did L5-S1 and BINGO the hip pain was gone and so was the limp. I see the guy next week and then the rhizotomy will be scheduled with an anesthesiologist. A couple of questions:

1) How do they know what levels to do the rhizotomy on? For sure L5-S1. This was evident. But my back still hurt after the procedure, probably was from getting so many injections. SO when I walked around the lower back still hurt. I am scared that the walking pain will be gone, (referred hip pain from L5-S1) but the back pain when I stand for any length of time will still be there. (kills me to the point of not being able to work). My MRI says disk bulges, stenosis (which no one thinks is bad because I have no leg pain, just hip pain), and arthritis at L3-S1. No one is doing anything with L3-4. I would hate to have the rhizotomy, only to have the hip pain helped but not the back.

2) I found out I have to be awake for the rhizotomy. Give it to me straight....how bad is that? I have been with no sedation thru all my injections ( 4 sets since May) and lived. I had a rhizotomy in my neck before, but they put me in one of those twighlight sleeps.

Thanks for the feedback!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • The reason that you must be awake is so that they will know what levels to burn. When they hit the right nerve and you respond that it is causing the pain they numb and burn it so it only lasts a few seconds. It is imperative according to my doc that you are awake otherwise they are really just guessing. I sent you a very loooong PM describing the entire process. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I did not find this forum until after my surgery in Dec 07 and I so wish that I would have found it much sooner. So I am glad to help in any way that I can.
    BTW - That twilight works quite well for most to help them not remember or barely know what is going on. It just never works for me. I remember everything that I talked to my doc about and everything that happens. He is always amazed afterwards when I mention something that we talked about during the procedure. Maybe it is the fear factor of saying something foolish that keeps me on my toes! :))(
  • HI here,
    I just read your very helpful Private message and thank you. I cannot respond now because I have to take my dog to the vet. I will when i get home. But I truly appreciate your reponses very very much!!
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