Radiofrequency Neurotomy of the Cervical Facets

This minimally-invasive procedure uses a radiofrequency probe to stun painful nerves in the facet joints, reducing or eliminating pain signals.


The patient is positioned, and local anesthetic is injected. A needle-like tube called a cannula is inserted into the neck and guided by fluoroscopic imaging to the irritated medial branch nerves of the painful facet joint.

Positioning the Electrode

A radiofrequency electrode is inserted through the cannula. The surgeon tests the electrode’s position by administering a weak pulse. When the stimulation recreates the pain without any other muscular effects, the surgeon knows the electrode is positioned correctly.

Nerve Treated

Heat from the electrode cauterizes the irritated nerve. This disrupts its ability to communicate with the brain, blocking the pain signals. The surgeon may treat multiple nerves if needed.

End of Procedure

After the procedure, the electrode and cannula are removed. The neck is bandaged, and the patient will be able to go home the same day as the procedure.

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