Rhizolysis is a specialised form of treatment and is also known as RF (radiofrequency) Lesioning. The aim is to cause heat damage to the nerves that supply the facet or sacroiliac joints to stop it sending signals back to the spine.
Why you might need it
Rhizolysis is a specialised form of treatment and is also known as RF (radiofrequency) Lesioning. The aim is to cause heat damage to the nerves that supply the facet or sacroiliac joints to stop it sending signals back to the spine which can cause pain.
It is very likely that you will have already tried other treatments to relieve the pain in your spine, such as pain killers and physiotherapy before being referred for this treatment.
Symptoms can be relieved for between three months to a year in about half of all patients.
You will be lying on your front for the procedure, which usually takes 30-60 minutes. Local anaesthetic is injected into the skin and fine, hollow needles are passed toward the nerves under CT or X-ray guidance. When the needle is in the right place a probe (thin wire) is then passed through the needle. The position of the probe is very important so it is checked by two tests:
- Sensation – You may feel tightness, pressure or tingling in your back
- Motor (movement) – You may feel some throbbing in your back. If there is throbbing into the leg then the probe is repositioned
When the probe is in the correct place, the tip is then heated to 80C degrees to cause a heat lesion to the nerve.
Local anaesthetic is injected after the probe has been heated to relieve discomfort after the procedure.
It is important that you rest for a couple of hours before you start to resume your normal activities. Do not do any excessive exercise or heavy work for the first few days.
Continue to take your pain tablets until you notice any improvement in your symptoms.
You can remove the dressing over the injection site the following morning.
There will be no routine follow-up after a rhizolysis procedure.