Pulsed radiofrequency therapy might be not inferior to thermal neurotomy in lumbar facet joint pain: a commentary

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Haiko Sprott *
Norina Bergamin
Armin Aeschbach
(*) Corresponding Author:
Haiko Sprott | praxis.prof.sprott@hin.ch


The effects of pulsed radiofrequency treatment in low back pain was evaluated in a routine clinical setting and compared with thermal neurotomy of nerve structures of the facet joint. The treatment of 19 patients with lumbar facet joint pain was prospectively evaluated. Follow-ups were recorded at 6 weeks and 6 months after intervention. Patients with ≥50% pain relief following controlled diagnostic local anesthetic block underwent medial branch neurotomy with thermal continuous radiofrequency (CRF, n=16) or pulsed radiofrequency (PRF, n=3). Experiences between the two radiofrequency modes in the treatment of facet joint pain were recorded. In the overall population, a facet joint pain reduction of 23% at 6 weeks, 20% at 6 months and an improvement in various clinical scores was achieved. CRF and PRF appeared to be similarly effective in the treatment of facet joint pain, providing pain relief for at least 6 months. These observations should encourage pain researcher to design meaningful studies to further address this concept.

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