Endoscopic laser facet rhizotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a laser to deaden nerve branches or roots known as rhizomes, thereby eliminating the patient’s pain.
The facet joints are located on the posterior aspect of each vertebra, with one located on each side. They are located throughout the vertebral column in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions. The facet joints are synovial joints that have cartilage that covers the ends of the bones, called articular cartilage. It has a smooth, shiny surface allowing the ends of the bones to slide freely over one another. Facet joints are surrounded by a protective capsule of soft tissue, which is lubricated by synovial fluid. Each joint can be a source of pain if the medial nerves become irritated or inflamed.
Once a facet nerve block or medial branch block confirms which nerves the pain is coming from, and who may not respond to conservative therapies, they may be a candidate for Endoscopic Laser Facet Rhizotomy. Endoscopy simply means that it is performed through tiny openings with sleeves that can allow small instruments to reach the affected area. The laser acts to deaden the nerve branches that are causing the pain.
What Conditions Does it Treat?
- Conditions that may respond to this procedure are:
- Facet disease
- Facet enlargement
- Spinal Degenerative Joint Disease
- Nerve pain that does not respond to conservative measures