Facet ablation

Posted by andilynn @andilynn, Dec 12, 2016

I’m wondering if anyone has had ablation in the lumbar region. I have a bone on bone situation at L5. It seems that everything that’s attempted such as injections or physical therapy just makes me have more pain. My neurologist said I’m not a surgical case and this ablation may help. He gave me Voltarin to apply three times/day to try. It doesn’t seem to do anything. I have pain all around the sacrum especially in the early hours of the morning. Lately I’ve had more symptoms in the daytime too. This is only since I had a couple injections in the lower back. Anyone else out there with this issue?

Liked by kayelle, robbi, lioness

My husband had a spinal facet ablation on T7/8,T8/9 and T9/10. It was wonderful for about 3 weeks. Then the pain returned with a vengeance. They will only do this once every 6 months. Is there a surgical procedure to PERMANENTLY kill those nerves. He cannot even function except lay down let alone take a deep breath. After the ablation he could breath deep for the 3 weeks. I don’t understand why since they have pinpointed the problem nerves why they can’t fix them permanently. Please any suggestions would be helpful. At my wits end here.

Liked by mrector

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Hello @mrector, I merged your discussion in to another discussion also titled, "Facet Ablation." I did this so some of the members who have discussed facet ablations would see your message as well. I'd also like to invite @chris24, @marleneace, @icopro59, @grandmar to this discussion to share their experiences with ablations.

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I had a facet ablation last Friday in L4/5 and L5/S1. So far it has worked. Have been having problems for a number of years. I was referred to a Pain Management Dr by my Rheumatologist. Had anaesthetic via a drip but wasn’t completely out. I felt nothing at all. And went home about an hour later. Am having the other side done next week.

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@papaspeachy

My husband had a spinal facet ablation on T7/8,T8/9 and T9/10. It was wonderful for about 3 weeks. Then the pain returned with a vengeance. They will only do this once every 6 months. Is there a surgical procedure to PERMANENTLY kill those nerves. He cannot even function except lay down let alone take a deep breath. After the ablation he could breath deep for the 3 weeks. I don’t understand why since they have pinpointed the problem nerves why they can’t fix them permanently. Please any suggestions would be helpful. At my wits end here.

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I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm afraid to have it done because nothing has worked so far and the Dr's tell me I can't have surgery.

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@marylou705

I had a facet ablation last Friday in L4/5 and L5/S1. So far it has worked. Have been having problems for a number of years. I was referred to a Pain Management Dr by my Rheumatologist. Had anaesthetic via a drip but wasn’t completely out. I felt nothing at all. And went home about an hour later. Am having the other side done next week.

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I'm glad you are doing well. Please keep me posted on how it works for you.

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@mrector

Has anyone had facet Ablation done? I have had 6 spinal injections within the past year and none have worked. My Dr wants to send me to pain management and possibly do facet ablation. I was just wondering if it works and what to expect. Is it a painful procedure? How long did the results last? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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@papaspeachy @mrector This is Mayo Clinic's explanation of RFA. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/radiofrequency-neurotomy/about/pac-20394931

I have had epidural steroid injections in my cervical and lumbar spine. Nearly 8 years ago I had facet RFA (radio frequency ablation) in my lumbar spine. I was very fortunate that the procedure worked for a long time. I am going in for a Laser Ablation test on a different area of my lumbar spine. As a diagnostic tool, the doctor will inject lidocaine in the facet joint. I will then have about two hours to determine how much relief (if any) I get. Let's say I determine with the lidocaine, my pain decreased by 80% in my lower back and legs. That would be enough for me to go ahead with the ablation.
To answer your question about what to expect etc, it is less painful than the spinal injections you have had in the past. The ablation is done under a live xray called a fluroscope (my procedures have all been done at a surgical center) You go in (nothing to eat or drink after midnight) Nurses will put an IV in your arm to administer fluids and medications as needed. The doctor will determine exactly what nerves will be targeted in the ablation but in the trial he will inject the lidocaine in the facet joint of the spine. It is not a painful procedure. After the procedure, you may have soreness where the needles were placed. Ice and Tylenol have been enough for any discomfort.

@papaspeachy Did your husband go through the trial procedure prior to the ablation? There is no permanent procedure to kill the nerves as they do grow back. Would you share with us more about your husband's condition? I empathize with you as my husband had two cervical spine fusion surgeries. He is fused from C3-C5 then the 2nd surgery C5-C7. He has extensive nerve damage. This is a result of a workplace injury. He had spinal cord compression. When we met with the neuro surgeon the doctor said "go home, don't drive, don't take a bath, live in a bubble if you can!" The doctor's fear was my husband could be bumped into or fall and become paralyzed.

I am more than happy to answer any other questions you both may have. @mrector Will you let me know what you decide to do?

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