About Radiofrequency Rhizotomy
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What is Radiofrequency Rhizotomy?
This procedure involves intentionally destroying nerves in the human body. Sometimes, the nerves may start transmitting signals that are unnecessarily painful for the person. The decision to destroy nerves is made after a careful analysis by a qualified professional. Success is measured by reduced pain for the patient.Diagnosis
The diagnosis for painful nerves involves making a careful identity of which nerve is causing pain. This can usually be achieved by the use of an MRI. However, this may not always be possible especially if there is nothing that can be physically seen to cause pain.
In such a case, advanced techniques are used. One of the most common is nerve blocking. This will involve medication being injected around the nerve root. If it is the one causing pain, the patient should notice pain disappear temporarily. Once the medication wears off, the pain returns.
The diagnosis may involve a discogram. In such an instance, a fluid is injected into the spinal disc using x-ray guidance. If the area is healthy, only a bit of pain is experienced. However, if the area is excessively affected, the patient will feel pain. The diagnosis is only performed for people who have failed to respond to other noninvasive techniques such as creams.Treatment
Using x-ray, the doctor will guide a thin needle to the area identified as being the cause of pain. A contrast solution is applied to help make it clear which nerve is in need of removal. The solution highlights this nerve quite clearly. Light electrical stimulation may be applied to the nerve causing light muscle contraction.
The doctor then proceeds to apply a numbing agent on the particular nerve. After he is sure the patient cannot feel anything, he uses an electrode to burn off the base of the nerve. The operation mainly takes place in the lower back, where nerve problems mainly originate. The entire procedure will normally take about an hour and a half.
Recovery : After the procedure, one will feel numb for about eight hours. If it goes beyond this, the doctor might have to interfere. A patient will need to take about a month of rest for their body to heal and adjust. Unless there are other external risks of injury, a person can return to their normal life after a few weeks.
Risks : One of the major risks with this surgery is internal breeding. In addition, there is the tiny risk of one becoming crippled for life. If the rhizotomy is performed close to the neck region, a patient can die. However, the risks are greatly minimized by advances in technology.
After care : After discharge from the hospital, the original pain will resurface for about seven days. This is usually more intensive than before the procedure. In order to control this, the patient is given pain medication. After seven days, the pain spot calms down or completely disappears. A good diet is essential in the recovery period. It helps the body to heal better.
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