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Radio Frequency Thermal Coagulation (RFTC)

What is it?
Facet joints are pairs of small joints that separate the vertebra on the back side of the spine in the lumbar (low back), thoracic (mid back) and cervical (neck) regions.

Who benefits?
These joints can become inflamed and painful from either injuries or arthritic conditions. When facet injections of local anesthetic and/or cortisone provide a temporary pain relief, you may be a candidate for a facet neurotomy, which can provide pain relief lasting up to six months or longer.

Purpose
A facet neurotomy involves destroying the nerves that relay pain messages from the facet joints. This is accomplished by using a technology called Radio Frequency Thermal Coagulation (RFTC).

How is it done?
First, an IV is started and you may be given medicine for relaxation. Next, while lying on an x-ray table, your skin will be cleansed and prepared. The needle will be inserted into the nerve entering the joint. An anesthetic and steroid medication will slowly be injected into the area, also prior to the neurotomy.

What to Expect:
You should expect to have a few days of moderate post-procedure pain. It may take up to three to four weeks before you are able to determine the procedure’s effectiveness. Some individuals will experience burning sensations at the skin which resolve in a few days time, or after a repeat injection of cortisone.

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