Percutaneous radiofrequency lumbar facet rhizotomy guided by computed tomography fluoroscopy

J Anesth. 2005;19(2):167-9. doi: 10.1007/s00540-005-0303-7.


X-ray fluoroscopy-guided percutaneous radiofrequency facet rhizotomy is used to treat chronic low back pain. The traditional fluoroscopic approach to the medial branch of the posterior rami, however, is associated with a small incidence of complications. We describe a new method for radiofrequency lumbar facet rhizotomy in which computed tomography (CT) fluoroscopy is used to guide needle placement. Three patients with chronic intractable low back pain underwent CT fluoroscopy-guided percutaneous facet rhizotomy. After the safest and shortest route to the target site was determined on the CT image, the needle was advanced along the predetermined route under real-time CT fluoroscopy. When the needle tip was located at the target site, electrical stimulation was applied to verify proper electrode placement. After confirming the clinical effect and lack of complications under test block with a local anesthetic, denervation was performed using radiofrequency current. Pain scores of all patients were reduced after the procedure without any complications such as paralysis or neuritic pain. None of the patients complained of severe discomfort during the procedure. CT fluoroscopy-guided percutaneous lumbar facet rhizotomy appears to be safe, fast, and effective for patients with lumbar facet pain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / surgery*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiofrequency Therapy*
  • Rhizotomy / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed