Cervical Facet Radiofrequency

This minimally-invasive procedure, also called radiofrequency, reduces or eliminates the pain of damaged facet joints of the neck and shoulders by disrupting the medial branch nerves that carry pain signals.

X-ray guidance is used to carefully guide a needle-like tube (cannula) to the irritated medical branch nerves. Then, a radiofrequency electrode is inserted through the cannula, which heats and cauterizes the nerve. This disrupts its ability to communicate with the brain, blocking the pain signals.

All injections are performed under fluoroscopy (x-ray) guidance.

What can you expect after the injection?

After the procedure is done on an outpatient basis you may experience some muscle and neck discomfort which goes away over several weeks. Your physician may have you do physical therapy during your recovery to help you regain your strength and get back to your activities.

Radiofrequency usually blocks the signal for a prolonged period of time. Eventually, the nerve grows back and can allow the pain signal to be transmitted again. If this happens the procedure can be repeated.