Since ‘Rhizotomy’ isn’t a term thay you hear every day, a lot of people out there don’t have any idea what it means. In a nutshell, it’s a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can provide immediate pain relief for the patient, while the relief itself can last for several years.
How can that be possible? Quite simple, once you learn about it: the rhizotomy (aka ablation or neurotomy) procedure kills the nerve fibers that are responsible for beaming up the pain signals to our brains. In this way, the pain sensation will go away for years.
Thanks to the official website of Johns Hopkins Medicine (hopkinsmedicine.org), we can learn the basics about rhizotomy, as well as about when the procedure can be used and what are the side effects.
When can rhizotomy be used?
There are plenty of conditions that can be treated with the rhizotomy procedure, and here are some of them:
- Joint pains resulting from arthritis
- Back and neck pain resulting from herniated discs, arthritis, spinal stenosis, as well as other degenerative spine conditions
- Spasticity, meaning abnormal muscle tightness as well as spasms
- Trigeminal neuralgia, meaning a facial pain occurring because of the irritation of the trigeminal nerve
- Other conditions that affect peripheral nerves
Side effects and risks of rhizotomy
You need to know that there are some risks associated with the rhizotomy procedure, and that depends on the procedure type and which nerves it’s being performed on. Let’s dive into detail:
- Radiofrequency rhizotomy poses a higher risk of triggering feelings of numbness compared to the chemical method.
- Glycerin/glycerol rhizotomy risks: These include vomiting, bleeding, infection, nausea, and a slight chance of feeling of numbness as well as anesthesia complications.
In some rare cases, rhizotomy won’t work when it comes to making the patient get rid of the pain that bothers him. If you’re among them, it’s best to seek advice from your doctor – another treatment or a second rhizotomy might be needed.