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Radiofrequency neurotomy

Modern Flouroscope

Radiofrequency Neurotomy of the Cervical Facets


Radiofrequency neurotomy is a radio wave procedure to reduce back and neck pain. The radio waves create heat. Needles are inserted through the skin (above the spine). The doctor will use image scans to make sure the delivery of the radio waves is precise.

Why It Is Done

The procedure is done by physicians who specialize in pain management. The aim is to reduce chronic pain that hasn’t responded to other more conservative treatments. It is sometimes recommended to treat neck pain caused by whiplash and back pain that extends to the buttocks and thighs.


The main concerns (side effects) for this treatment are pain at the site (where the needles are inserted) and
temporary numbness.

More serious but rarer side effects include nerve injury, bleeding, infection, long-term numbness and paralysis.


Radiofrequency neurotomy takes about an hour. It’s an outpatient procedure, which means you’ll arrive and go home on the same day.

The patient will lie on an X-Ray table and wear a hospital gown. Before the procedure the skin will be numbed with medicines. A fluoroscope (an X-Ray machine) will be used so the needles accurately target the affected nerves. An IV (intravenous) line will make sure you get the right drugs during the procedure.

After the procedure, you’ll be taken to a room to rest. Any soreness in the area where the needles were inserted usually goes away in a day or so. You can use an ice pack to help relieve any pain. Baths and heating pads should be avoided for one to two days. A warm shower is OK after a 24 hour waiting period.


The information contained in this brochure is for educational purposes only. Please make an appointment so we can formally review your medical condition. This brochure does not create a doctor/patient relationship.

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